Special News--October 2022
Perils, Paralysis, and HopeSustainable Development or Sustainable Destruction?A Message to the United Nations General Assembly--
and to the World UN image: Opening address at the UNGA by S-G Guterres, 20 September 2022
"Progress on [major global] issues and more is being held hostage by geopolitical tensions. Our world is in peril--and paralyzed. Geopolitical divides are: Undermining the work of the Security Council. Undermining international law. Undermining trust and people’s faith in democratic institutions. Undermining all forms of international cooperation. We cannot go on like this.....But by acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope...." UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the UN (20 September 2022) (bold font added for emphasis)
In this Update we enter into the world of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the 77th one which commenced 20-27 September 2022 at the UN in New York. We feature the opening address by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 20 September.
Mr. Guterres again (and over and over!) raises the alarm about the major issues plaguing our world--primarily humans palguing humans via geopolitical tensions, conflicts, climate change, poverty, etc.). And he calls for urgent action and solidarity by member states and the world community for the sake of people and the planet now and in the future.
The title and theme of this Update--perils, paralysis, hope--reflects our summary take-away from Guterres' address. In spite of the ongoing perilous picture that he paints, the Secretary-General also emphasizes "hope": hope for collaborative change for the common good in line with the fundamental values and commitments of the UN Charter (1945).
Sustainable Development or Sustainable Destruction? MCAresources@gmail.com
Or something in-between like Sustainable Survival?
For many people, including ourselves, hearing yet another dark message about the state of the world can lead to a variety of responses: It can stir up a sense of "doomsday message fatigue," or lead to a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, or fill us with immobilizing fear. Perhaps though it can also stoke the fires of responsible resolve to work on a couple important issues in our personal lives and lifestyles, in our communities, and in our spheres of influence. We surely hope so!
Are we as humanity heading towards ubiquitous destruction rather than equitable development? Or perhaps a standoff between the two: basic survival? We do not know. But we are not losing our hope--nor our faith and love!
We finish the Update with our Personal Reflections about "being people of faith-hope-love." We also include the message by Archbishop Justin Welby on 19 September 2022 at the funeral service at Westminster Abbey for Elizabeth II. The funeral, much of which was organized in advance by the Queen herself, was viewed by an estimated and unprecedented global audience of over four billion people. Here is one excerpt for starters about her exemplary life of service and underlying faith and hope in God:
We will all face the merciful judgment of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’” You can access the full text HERE and the video HERE.
Applications--Making It Personal
--Explore. Read the five excerpts below from Guterres' speech. How does the message of "perils, paralysis, and hope"--or any other major theme--fit with your experience and understanding of the world today?
--Relevance. Dive deeper into the speech by listening to and/or reading the entire speech. Consider a few ways that the perspectives are practically relevant for your life and work.
--Discuss. Share and discuss this Update with others. Perhaps have a go at relating the message (address) of Secretary-General Guterres with the message (sermon) of Archbishop Welby.
Going further--see these Global Integration Updates:
--Arming the World--Promoting Positive Peace (September 2022)
--Climate-Conflict-Corruption: Safeguarding People and the Planet (July 2021)
--Doomsday: Next Stop, Global Dis-Integration? (June 2017)
Kelly and Michèle
Perils, Paralysis, and Hope
Sustainable Development or Sustainable Destruction?
A Message to the United Nations General Assembly--
and to the World
UN image: S-G Guterres' opening address to the UNGA, 20 September 2022
"The divergence between developed and developing countries…is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade. But by acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope…So, let’s develop common solutions to common problems--grounded in goodwill, trust, and the rights shared by every human being." UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the UNGA (20 September 2022)
Here are five excerpts from the UN Secretary-General's opening address to the UN General Assembly on 20 September 2022. Note that in spite of the ongoing dire picture that he paints, he also emphasizes "hope"--hope for collaborative change in line with the fundamental values and commitments of the UN Charter for the common good.
Click HERE for the video of the address
Click HERE for the text of the address
Click HERE to access UN WebTV in order watch archived events and speeches on various issues at the 77th UNGA.
--Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Our world is in big trouble. Divides are growing deeper. Inequalities are growing wider. Challenges are spreading farther. But as we come together in a world teeming with turmoil, an image of promise and hope comes to my mind...
--Excellencies, We need action across the board. Let’s have no illusions. We are in rough seas. A winter of global discontent is on the horizon. A cost-of-living crisis is raging. Trust is crumbling. Inequalities are exploding. Our planet is burning. People are hurting – with the most vulnerable suffering the most. The United Nations Charter and the ideals it represents are in jeopardy. We have a duty to act. And yet we are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction. The international community is not ready or willing to tackle the big dramatic challenges of our age. These crises threaten the very future of humanity and the fate of our planet. Crises like the war in Ukraine and the multiplication of conflicts around the globe. Crises like the climate emergency and biodiversity loss. Crises like the dire financial situation of developing countries and the fate of the Sustainable Development Goals. And crises like the lack of guardrails around promising new technologies to heal disease, connect people and expand opportunity.
--Excellencies, Progress on all these issues and more is being held hostage by geopolitical tensions. Our world is in peril – and paralyzed. Geopolitical divides are: Undermining the work of the Security Council. Undermining international law. Undermining trust and people’s faith in democratic institutions. Undermining all forms of international cooperation. We cannot go on like this.
--Excellencies, The climate crisis is coming on top of other heavy weather. A once-in-a-generation global cost-of-living crisis is unfolding, turbocharged by the war in Ukraine. Some 94 countries – home to 1.6 billion people – many in Africa – face a perfect storm: economic and social fallout from the pandemic, soaring food and energy prices, crushing debt burdens, spiraling inflation, and a lack of access to finance. These cascading crises are feeding on each other, compounding inequalities, creating devastating hardship, delaying the energy transition, and threatening global financial meltdown. Social unrest is inevitable – with conflict not far behind. It doesn’t have to be this way. A world without extreme poverty, want or hunger is not an impossible dream. It is within reach. That is the world envisaged by the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. But it is not the world we seem to have chosen. Because of our decisions, sustainable development everywhere is at risk. The SDGs are issuing an SOS. Even the most fundamental goals – on poverty, hunger and education – are going into reverse. More people are poor. More people are hungry. More people are being denied health care and education. Gender equality is going backwards and women’s lives are getting worse, from poverty, to choices around sexual and reproductive health, to their personal security.
---Excellencies, The divergence between developed and developing countries – between North and South – between the privileged and the rest – is becoming more dangerous by the day. It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade. But by acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope. The hope found in climate and peace activists around the world calling out for change and demanding better of their leaders. The hope found in young people, working every day for a better, more peaceful future. The hope found in the women and girls, leading and fighting for those still being denied their basic human rights. The hope found throughout civil society seeking ways to build more just and equal communities and countries. The hope found in science and academia, racing to stay ahead of deadly diseases and end the COVID-19 pandemic. The hope found in humanitarian heroes rushing to deliver lifesaving aid around the world. The United Nations stands with them all. We know lofty ideals must be made real in people’s lives. So let’s develop common solutions to common problems — grounded in goodwill, trust, and the rights shared by every human being. Let’s work as one, a coalition of the world, as united nations. Thank you."
Note: Recall that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) "is the main policy-making organ of the [United Nations]. Comprising all Member States, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. Each of the 193 Member States of the United Nations has an equal vote. The UNGA also makes key decisions for the UN, including: appointing the Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Security Council electing the non-permanent members of the Security Council, [and] approving the UN budget. The Assembly meets in regular sessions from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. It discusses specific issues through dedicated agenda items or sub-items, which lead to the adoption of resolutions." (quote from the UNGA website)
Being People of Faith-Hope-Love in a Perilous World
And a Messsage about the Life of Elizabeth II
Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, 19 September 2022
As people of faith who practice Christian spirituality, we are committed to responsibly engage with others in the challenges facing our world, locally through globally, while holding firmly to our belief that both fundamentally and ultimately we are in God's hands. We pray that God's purposes "will be done on earth as it in heaven;" acknowledge that prayer, repentance, and relationship with God are key to human-planetary wellbeing; and live in hope for the time when God through Jesus Christ will decisively intervene in human history with equity--righteousness and justice--to restore all things. And in the meantime...we seek to embrace lifestyles that prioritize a deep, practical love for truth, peace, and people.
We do not want to further problematize our world's plight by focusing primarily on the negative. Rather we want to also promote the many examples of the good going forward, as people of good will find common ground for the common good.
In line with these reflections above, we want to share the message (sermon) by Archbishop Justin Welby on 19 September 2022 at the funeral service at Westminster Abbey for Elizabeth II. It was watched by an estimated and unprecedented global audience of over four billion people. She was a remarkable woman with a steadfast underlying faith as a follower of Jesus Christ. You can also access the full text HERE and the video HERE.
Kelly and Michèle
Archbishop Justin Welby giving the sermon at the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II
Wesminster Abbey, 19 September 2022
Message by Archbishop Justin Welby about the life of Queen Elizabeth II
The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory.
Her late Majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the nation and Commonwealth.
Rarely has such a promise been so well kept! Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.
Jesus – who in our reading does not tell his disciples how to follow, but who to follow – said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ Her late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed. I know His Majesty shares the same faith and hope in Jesus Christ as his mother; the same sense of service and duty.
In 1953 the Queen began her coronation with silent prayer, just there at the High Altar. Her allegiance to God was given before any person gave allegiance to her. Her service to so many people in this nation, the Commonwealth and the world, had its foundation in her following Christ – God himself – who said that he “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.
The grief of this day – felt not only by the late Queen’s family but all round the nation, Commonwealth and the world – arises from her abundant life and loving service, now gone from us
She was joyful, present to so many, touching a multitude of lives.
We pray especially for all her family, grieving as every family at a funeral – including so many families round the world who have themselves lost someone recently – but in this family’s case doing so in the brightest spotlight.
May God heal their sorrow, may the gap left in their lives be marked with memories of joy and life.
Her late Majesty’s broadcast during COVID-19 lockdown ended with: ‘We will meet again’ -- words of hope from a song of Vera Lynn. Christian hope means certain expectation of something not yet seen.
Christ rose from the dead and offers life to all, abundant life now and life with God in eternity.
As the Christmas carol says, “where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”
We will all face the merciful judgment of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership.
Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: ‘We will meet again.’”