The United Nations celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary on October 24, 2020. On this date in 1945, the UN was born when the United Nations Charter came into force. 75 years later, the UN remains the world’s most broadly representative forum for peacemaking and dialogue on many global issues. It gathers 193 nations and many specialized agencies focused on international peace and security, human rights, international law, humanitarian assistance and sustainable development.
Why should Episcopalians care about United Nations Day?
First, it is a day to remember and celebrate the ways in which Episcopalians have been involved with the UN since its founding. For example, Episcopalian Eleanor Roosevelt was part of the first United States delegation to the United Nations, the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We continue this legacy by taking our rightful places in dreaming and building a better and more peaceful world with the UN.
Second, it is a day to recall that UN action is one way by which Episcopalians uphold our Baptismal Covenant promises to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves,” and “strive for justice and peace among all people.” Engaging with the UN helps equip Episcopalians in responding to Jesus, who calls us to care for our world, heal the sick, welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, serve the poor, and proclaim good news to the captives and the oppressed.
Episcopalians have expertise to offer, stories to tell, voices to amplify and resources and services to share. Episcopalians in local parishes and dioceses inform, educate, raise awareness and develop local programs, and commemorate UN international observances. They work in peacebuilding, justice and reconciliation, eradicating poverty, and supporting human development through the Sustainable Development Goals, adapting to climate change and protecting the environment, ensuring food security, protecting human rights, empowering women and girls, supporting the rights and dignity of indigenous peoples – and more.
Finally, on United Nations Day we can join in praying for the UN and all countries of the world, using the Prayer for Peace Among the Nations in our Book of Common Prayer.
For more information and to learn how you can get involved, visit The Episcopal Church and the United Nations at episcopalchurch.org/episcopal-church-and-united-nations or follow @EpiscopalUN social media on Facebook, Twitter and via #EpiscopalUN. For more information about the United Nations, visit un.org.