June 21, 2021
So what did you make of the G7 meeting here in Cornwall?
Bishop Philip writes…
I joined a residents’ Facebook page in the run up to the event and I’m well aware that reactions in advance were what you might call ‘mixed’! I know some people who deliberately left home in Carbis Bay to avoid it all.
And I’m well aware too that there are concerns that there are now Covid-19 clusters both in the St Ives and Falmouth areas: clusters that may well be due to G7 activity there.
For all the reservations there was much about the event that was good. For a couple of days the world’s attention was focused on this beautiful Duchy. The sun came out after a mizzly start. The Red Arrows flew superbly. Protests passed off without incident and visiting police remarked very positively about the warmth of welcome they received. There was something of a carnival atmosphere about it all.
But for all that I do have some reservations – not about the event itself but about the outcomes.
I fear that there was insufficient urgency in addressing the climate crisis. And former Prime Minister Gordon Brown branded the response to the pandemic a ‘moral failure’. Pledging a billion vaccines sounds amazing – but it’s less than 10% of what is needed.
Why does this matter? Jesus had a radical view of our responsibilities to those around us – and he put no boundaries to that responsibility.
When he was asked, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s a story that blows apart any idea that our neighbours are only those near us and like us. In the story it’s a foreigner and a stranger who acts as a very good neighbour to someone who would probably have despised him for not being ‘one of us’.
We live in a globally connected world. It’s only by taking our global, neighbourly, responsibilities seriously than we can hope to address its problems. Acting like that is not only the smart thing to do. It’s also the right thing to do.