ENGLAND: Churches urge 'leadership' by G20 politicians at London summit

March 25, 2009

British church leaders will join campaigners in London on a march for jobs, justice and concern for the climate before an April 2 summit in the British capital of leaders from the Group of 20 leading economies from the developed and developing world.

"As global leaders gather in London, it is crucial that the world's poorest communities are not forgotten," said the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, Anglican bishop of London, ahead of the demonstration planned for March 28.

Under the slogan, "Put People First -- March for Jobs, Justice and Climate," a coalition of more than 100 development agencies, unions, faith and environmental groups will demand jobs and public services for all, an end to global poverty and inequality, and a green economy.

About 2,000 Christians from across Britain's denominations are to gather at an ecumenical service at Westminster Central Hall, near the British Parliament, before joining the main march that will end with a rally to be addressed by speakers from Britain and around the world.

"We would like to see the G20 leaders articulating a vision for a more just and equitable approach," said the Rev. John Marsh, moderator of the general assembly of the United Reformed Church in Britain. "This is a fundamental issue of justice."

At their April 2 meeting, the leaders of the G20 nations, which together make up 90 percent of global gross domestic product, and 80 percent of world trade, will seek to find a way out of the financial crisis that is ravaging the global economy.

"A healthy economy is also a just and equitable economy; an economy that does not make unachievable claims on our planet's future," said the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of Britain's Baptist Union, in a joint statement issued with the URC and the Methodist Church in Britain.

Leaders of the three denominations urged the G20 leaders to show "real leadership" by ensuring that solutions to the current economic crisis lead to action on global warming.

"The health of any economy cannot be measured solely on economic indicators such as growth, debt and employment," the statement said. "Climate change has the potential to disadvantage millions in the developed world and in developing nations. The G20 leaders must not allow the economic crisis to divert us from tackling this challenge."

The church leaders also called on richer nations to agree generous support for developing countries, so that they can afford the initiatives they need to take.

"It would be neither fair nor feasible to expect developing countries to take on the chall