On Saturday 8 June the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, delivered the address and gave the blessing at the IF ecumenical service held at Westminster Central Hall, with over 3000 supporters in attendance.
In his address Archbishop Nichols expressed his thanks for the opportunity to speak at such an important event of prayer and worship. Archbishop Nichols spoke of how “the four ‘Ifs’ at the heart of this campaign are not the ‘if only’s’ of wishful thinking. They are possible if we are prepared to work together to develop the international cooperation and both corporate and personal responsibility needed for truly beneficial economic activity and growth.”
“Today’s objectives are achievable. They are urgently needed. We are hungry for change. So we add our voices to those gathering this afternoon and around the world.”
Archbishop Nichols also reflected upon the Acts of the Apostles which spoke about the early Christian communities and the value of their coming together in community life to share food: “It tells us that the starting point of the community was its faithfulness to the teaching of the apostles; a mutual commitment flowed from that faithfulness together with the practice of the ‘Breaking of Bread’ and daily prayer. It also tells us that the end result of a community life of this kind went beyond the meeting of hunger and need. The end result was that many more people came to see and live their lives in relationship to God.”
The ecumenical service also included an introduction by Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church and welcome by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, by video. The Gospel reading was given by Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church.
The IF campaign is the largest joint charity coalition since Make Poverty History, involving over 200 organisations, which are campaigning for action by the G8 on the issue of global hunger. The service was organised by CAFOD, Tearfund, Christian Aid and other major faith agencies. More than 1500 churches have participated in the IF campaign.