Diocese of Arundel and Brighton turns up in force to join 45,000 at the Hyde Park Big IF Rally

Saturday the 8th of June saw 45,000 people come from around the UK joining the rally to demand Prime Minister David Cameron & G8 leaders tackle global hunger.

The day started with an ecumenical service at Westminster Central Hall led by Arch Bishop Vincent Nichols who said:

“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.

“We are to hold together our faith and love for the Lord with our commitment to today’s cause, and many other causes, too. For us they are inseparable. It is not as if my faith in Jesus is a private matter, stirring my conscience and strengthening my effort in some hidden way. It is that, of course. But it is so much more. It is an invitation, a summons, for all people to come to appreciate the wholeness of life and its wholeness as intended and sustained by God, in all its dignity, beauty, vulnerability and sublime destiny. You and I, here, today, are the bearers of that summons”

St George's, Weybridge with Arch Bishop Vincent Nichols

St George’s, Weybridge with Arch Bishop Vincent Nichols

The service was full, even the overflow room and St Margaret’s Church reached capacity which shows the weight of feeling and desire to make a difference.

Martin and the Diocesan IF Banner

Martin and the Diocesan IF Banner

After the service we all met under the Diocesan Banner which was compiled from Hungry For Change loaves and fishes sent from various Diocesan sources, not least St Richard’s College, Bexhill. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped us create the banner, it gave us something to follow and congregate around and also made it on to the Guardian’s website.

Some of the A&B Diocese about to set off on the walk of witness to Hyde Park

Some of the A&B Diocese about to set off on the walk of witness to Hyde Park

Then commenced the Walk of Witness from Westminster Central Hall to Hyde Park along a somewhat circuitous route to Hyde Park. Did I hear someone say ‘Enough Food For Everyone IF we ever make it Hyde Park’?

Once in Hyde Park people enjoyed the variety of stalls and activity and had the chance to have a bite to eat before the main rally began. All through the day we kept meeting more and more people from the Diocese. Among the areas represented were: Worthing, Bognor, Eastbourne, Brighton & Hove, Crawley, Haslemere, Guildford, Cranleigh, Effingham, Ewell, Fetcham and Walton-on-Thames.

One supporter wears his thoughts on his head

One supporter wears his thoughts on his head

Brian Medlicott of Fetcham in Surrey highlighted the tragedy of wasting food when more than 870 million people go hungry every day. He said: “I look at how people elsewhere in the world are treated by multinational companies, many of which come from the western world like us, and I’m not happy with that. And the thought of people starving, when there is enough food, and food goes to waste, is tragic. It’s the duty of everyone to stand up and say this is wrong.”

Many people took the chance to see the display of 250,000 paper flowers. Each of the two million petals symbolises one of the two million children who die each year because of hunger an malnutrition. For more photos see https://www.facebook.com/CAFOD

A snapshot of the flower display.

A snapshot of the flower display.

After a bite to eat the Rally began and we all headed towards the main stage for a fantastic line-up of acts. Myleen Klass and Gethin Jones hosted Bill Gates, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the excellent and up-lifting CAFOD ambassador David Harewood, film director Danny Boyle, BBC DJ Lauren Laverne and singer Angelique Kidjo. David Beckham sent a special video message and told supporters to tell Prime Minister David Cameron “the time for the G8 to act is now”. Beardyman who is a famous Beatboxer (percussive noises etc with mouth and throat) was absolutely amazing and led the crowd in making a huge amount of noise.

It was a fantastic day. We would like to say a huge Thank You to all those who managed to come along for the day, those who prayed for it’s success and those took part in the campaign from the distance. It is well worth keeping up to speed on what is happening with the campaign and the G8.

To find out what is happening over the next few days, click herehttp://www.cafod.org.uk/News/Campaigning-news/10-days-of-action-on-hunger

For a short Thank You message from CAFOD Ambassador David Harewood, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5kn2BW-ecA

For our news page, click here http://www.cafod.org.uk/News

For more photos see https://www.facebook.com/CAFOD

2 thoughts on “Diocese of Arundel and Brighton turns up in force to join 45,000 at the Hyde Park Big IF Rally

  1. Thank you for this excellent report of the Hyde Park rally. It is particularly encouraging that so many attended the church service. Sorry I could not be there, especially as you had sunshine! I was at the IF rally in Belfast the following Saturday – and it poured!
    The G8 has taken some steps in the right direction but we need to keep up the pressure, so the Hungry For Change campaign remains very important. Let’s keep campaigning.

  2. Pingback: A Brief Review of The Year | CAFOD Arundel & Brighton's Blog

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