This June 21st to 23rd, Religious Leaders from the G8 countries and from every region of the world came together inWinnipeg to discuss the major issues currently afflicting our world. They created a joint statement addressing extreme poverty, the environment and peace and security which will be presented to the G8/G20 leadership and distributed around the world.
I was a part of the 5 member delegation from Development & Peace who attended the GEN-Y to G-8 Youth Interfaith dinner at the University of Winnipeg on Tuesday, June 22. This supper was held in conjunction with the Religious Leaders’ Summit.
The dinner was a great opportunity to connect with a hundred other young adults of all faith traditions both from Winnipeg and across the country. The evening kicked off with a moving performance by Shy-Anne Hovorka, an Aboriginal singer/songwriter from Northwestern Ontario. The song “Can’t Change the World” urged everyone to hope and act for a better future (watch video below).
Rev. Dr. Andre Karamaga, General Secretary of the All-African Conference of Churches was the keynote speaker. One of the many messages that he brought was that Africans don’t want us to do things for them but rather with them.
We also heard from other religious leaders who were delegates at the G8 religious leaders’ summit and who prepared a statement to be presented at the G8 summit calling the political leaders to take action on poverty, peace, and the environment.
We then had the opportunity to talk about what we as young adults wanted this statement to include. I was at a table discussing the environmental statement with others who were Mennonite, Jewish, United, Muslim, and Lutheran. It didn’t take us long to unite behind the stewardship of creation that is an important part of all our faiths.
We offered suggestions and encouragement to the faith leaders to use strong, direct language and to stress that environmental stewardship is an integral part of all faith traditions. I know that the faith leaders who were gathered in Winnipeg are genuinely committed to working for positive change in the world. I pray that the political leaders will follow their example!