Anglican Head Plans Unprecedented Faith Leaders Walk

The head of the Anglican Communion announced plans this week to hold a massive walk with hundreds of Anglican bishops and other religious leaders during the worldwide church denomination's decennial gathering in July.

Some 600 archbishops and bishops, their spouses, and other U.K. religious leaders will walk together through central London on July 24 to express their commitment to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight goals made by world leaders to cut world poverty in half by 2015, according to the Anglican Communion News Service.

The walk, organized by the Christian anti-poverty ministry Micah Challenge U.K., will culminate with a rally on the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the home and office of Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, who is "first among equals" in the 77-million member Anglican Communion.

"This walk will be a poignant public act of commitment by the Anglican Communion and other faith groups to continue to put pressure on those who have the power and resources to help end extreme poverty across the globe," said Williams in a statement Thursday.

"It will be about pledging, as a Church, to play our part in continuing to develop lasting solutions," the Anglican head stated.

The high-profile walk will serve as a public pledge by the faith leaders to work harder to ensure that the MDGs will be met, that the right policies are in place, and that the needs of local communities are being met.

"Faith leaders and our communities are active across the U.K. and the world as advocates for the poor and vulnerable in our midst," Williams noted. "Faith groups often have the best service delivery networks in the very places which the international agencies find hardest to reach."

Dr. Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organizations U.K., is among the non-Christian faith leaders that welcomes and hopes to participate in the walk.

"Sikhs support a wide range of initiatives to raise awareness about the Millennium Development Goals, and we are delighted that the Archbishop and the Anglican Church are taking the lead in the important area of education which this walk will highlight," Singh. "I hope to join it."

The July mass walk will serve as part of the international backdrop for the U.N. meeting on Sept. 25, when the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will host a special review of progress towards the MDGs and the financial commitments from donor countries.

It will be held as Anglican bishops from across the worldwide Anglican Communion convene at the University of Kent in England from July 16 through Aug. 3 for the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference.