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Home Who's who Bishops The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam. Sermons, articles, and speeches Address for G7 Event at Truro Cathedral, June 2021

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Address for G7 Event at Truro Cathedral, June 2021

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Jun, 2021 07:50 PM

Bishop Nicholas gave the Address for the Truro Cathedral G7 event on 10th June 2021.

View on YouTube here.

Thank you for organising this event and thank you to Ruth Valerio for introducing the evening.

In relation to the G7, surely the place for people of faith to begin is to recognise the scale of the task facing our political leaders when they meet here in Cornwall and pray for them to have an honest appreciation of what is happening in our world, to have a sense of urgency about it and to address the issues with understanding and wisdom. Listen to the voices of the poorest and the young who feel so passionately about the issues we are facing.

Each of us grows up in our own family and nation. We learn to love in the particular but not so we only love our own family, tribe and nation but for us to grow to love the whole world in which God has set us. So we pray for our political leaders to put away selfish concerns and work for the world’s common good.

Perhaps the most important thing the pandemic has taught us is that we live as people who are connected and are interdependent. The earth Is our common home. In this time of the virus, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Christianity like every religion and ethical system includes the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you. It is a good place to begin, and because it is universal wisdom it will help us navigate some of the challenges. I’ll pray for a more urgent and effective global vaccination programme and for the UK to restore it’s commitment to 0.7% GDP for Overseas Aid. It’s not charity it’s enlightened self-interest.

Those of us speaking tonight are properly ecumenical, representatives of the world’s faiths in one room. In his letter on climate change, Laudato Si, Pope Francis addressed not just Roman Catholics, or Christians, or people of faith or those of good will. He wrote to everyone because we all have a responsibility for the way things are and what needs to happen now.

Gus Speth, a scientist who used to be the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council in the United States, said:

“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

We need a renewed relationship with God, one another and all creation. It is a profoundly spiritual matter.

We need to use our best thinkers, our most creative scientists and artists, our greatest hearted people, people with great souls, to address the crises which are a moment of judgement as well as a moment of great opportunity. We will need to develop and use the economy, the laws of the house, and the ecology, the wisdom of the house.

We cannot depend on techno-optimism to dig us out of a hole and we will need to answer questions about restraint. What is enough? We cannot continue to consume as we do. A new creativity is needed.

Pope Francis was striking when he said we will get through the pandemic by caring for one another. That is very apparent where I live in Salisbury. People have worked hard at trying to make sure nobody slips through the safety nets of the community’s care. That local experience challenges the way we care for one another around the world. This is a summit that has to make the connections so I’ll also pray for a serious engagement with the global economic crisis, for climate justice and for debt cancellation for the poorest nations.

This is a time of massive change and it will not be enough to do better what we have been doing before. We need new world thinking to address the issues we are facing because of the pandemic and the economic crisis and the increasingly apparent dangers of climate change and environmental degradation. 

If caring for one another is what will get us through the pandemic, Pope Francis said that what will get us through the climate crisis is contemplation. If we contemplate the beauty of the earth and appreciate the loveliness of every living thing we will not be able to continue squandering the earth’s resources.

We live locally and we live globally. Digital technology will help us as communication is being transformed but we also need to keep on being strongly relational so that we retain our sense of the worth of every person, each made in the image of God.

I’ll pray for our leaders but Jesus also taught us to pray for what we want. So I’ll pray for our politicians to act with a vision of the world as God’s love would make it , where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love; and I’ll pray for the inspiration and courage to build it in God’s name. Amen

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