THE Archbishop of Canterbury has joined other religious leaders in the UK to highlight the importance of diversity across the Commonwealth.
As delegates arrived for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on Monday, Archbishop Welby joined ten other faith leaders, among them the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, to support Commonwealth Big Lunches, an initiative aimed at bringing together people from across the Commonwealth.
Other signatories are the president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, Trupti Patel, and Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Ibrahim Mogra, representing the Muslim community.
Archbishop Welby has also written to all diocesan bishops to urge them to host lunches.
He writes: “As the part of the Anglican Communion, the body of Christ, we are connected with our brothers and sisters across the Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth Big Lunch is a wonderful opportunity for parishes in your diocese to celebrate the Commonwealth diaspora in their local community, as the Big Lunch can be teamed with a street party, discussion, sports, debate, or other event to bring the community together.”
The aim of the Big Lunch scheme is to bring a community together and strengthen local ties through a street-party style event.
Big Lunch events have been organised across the Commonwealth to coincide with the Heads of Government Meeting, up until 22 April. The next focus is Sunday 3 June.
The initiative is being co-ordinated by the Eden Project, who describe it as: “simply about sharing food, friendship and fun, and joining in with celebrations that will be taking place right across the globe”.
Support for the initiative, which was launched by the Prime Minister last year, has also come from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The theme of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is “Towards a Common Future”.
It was announced on Sunday that New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Ghana had joined the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, an agreement between member states to rid the oceans of plastic waste, led by the UK and Vanuatu.
The Government announced a £61.4-million package of funding to help the project and boost global research.
Last month the charity launched a campaign aimed at encouraging the Government to spend more of the international-development budget on waste management, to rid the oceans of plastic and improve the lives of people in poverty (News, 29 March).
Joanne Green, a senior campaigner at Tearfund said this week: “It is very encouraging to hear the UK Government step up its work on this issue.”