Sunday, September 21, 2008

The MDGs: Marking the half-way point

The year 2008 is the halfway point to 2015, the target year for accomplishing the eight Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 by the United Nations.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has called a “High-Level Event” on Thursday, September 25 at which world leaders and others will discuss the progress toward the MDGs and the efforts that will still be needed to accomplish them.

To mark this occasion, the Anglican Communion will hold a solemn Evensong on September 25 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church will celebrate: Archbishop of York John Sentamu will preach.

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have been invited to the Evensong by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan D. Williams through the Office of the Anglican Observer at the United Nations.

The observance was endorsed by the bishops attending the recent Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, who said in their reflections document, “The Provinces of the Communion call for a day of prayer and fasting and witness on 25th September 2008 when there is a special session of the United Nations to discuss the Millennium Development Goals.”

What can be done to help?

Several organizations within the Episcopal Church are working continually on ways to fulfill the MDGs, in response to Christ’s command to care for the people of the world:

Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation, in solidarity with people of faith throughout the world and in response to the Anglican Communion’s call, invites all church members to commit on September 25 to:

Pray. Say prayers with special intention for the extreme poor throughout the world.

Fast. Skip at least one meal in solidarity with the nearly 1 billion people who go to bed hungry each night. (As possible depending on health; consult your doctor if in doubt)

Witness. Participate in an online advocacy action promoting our government’s fulfilling its promises to achieve the MDGs.

For more information, or to participate, visit

The Episcopal Public Policy Network will identify an MDG advocacy action for September 25. For information, visit

Episcopal Relief and Development is working actively throughout the world to achieve the MDGs. To donate online, visit; by mail, Episcopal Relief & Development, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, Virginia 22116-7058; by phone (with a credit card), 800-334-7626, ext. 5129.

"The year 2008 should mark a turning point in progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Together with the President of the General Assembly, I am convening a special High-level Event on the MDGs on 25 September in New York. This gathering will bring together world leaders, representatives of the private sector and our civil society partners to discuss specific ways to energize our efforts. I expect the meeting will also send a strong message that governments are ready to rise to the financing for development challenge. I look forward to working with Member States to make the September event an unqualified success. Together, we must make this year one of unprecedented progress for the poorest of the poor, so that we can realize a better, more prosperous future for all.”
—Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, April 1, 2008

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