Approximately 600 Anglican bishops and their spouses will march through central London on July 24 to demonstrate their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Canadian Anglicans are invited to “walk along” through a letter-writing campaign that same day.
The walk takes place during the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade gathering of all bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The bishops will take a break from their usual schedule of prayer, discussion and plenary sessions for this walk, which was organized in partnership with Micah Challenge UK and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. The MDGs are eight targets created to address the needs of the world’s poorest people by 2015:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development
Announcing the event, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, said: “This walk will be a poignant public act of commitment by the Anglican Communion and other faith groups to continue to put pressure on those who have the power and resources to help end extreme poverty across the globe.”
The idea of an accompanying “virtual walk” sprung up in the Episcopal Church (USA). The Episcopal Public Policy Network and Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation set up a website where congregations could download prayers and bulletin inserts promoting the event. American churches can also sign up for an email list that will alert them of an MDG-related advocacy action for July 24. As of Tuesday, July 22, more than 1,000 individuals and 100 congregations signed up for the virtual march.
Canadians were also eager to participate, and the Diocese of Ontario has drafted a letter that Canadians can send to their member of parliament by email or letter mail, encouraging the government to meet its pledge of 0.7% of Gross National Income for development assistance. (Download the letter in Word here, and find your member of Parliament here). Canadian congregations can also sign up to have their names included on the Episcopal Church’s virtual march list.
To keep up with Canadian coverage of the MDGs walk and other Lambeth-related news, visit General Synod’s Lambeth hub.
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