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German churches to toll bells in call for justice at G8 summit


Protestant churches throughout Germany will peal their bells for eight minutes on 6 June at the start of the G8 meeting taking place in their country to remind leaders of developed and powerful nations of their responsibility to fight global poverty.

"With this specifically church form of activity we want to appeal to political leaders to demonstrate solidarity with the world’s poorest people," Ralf Göttlicher of the "Church and G8" coordination office in the Mecklenburg region in northern Germany, said in a 4 June statement. Mecklenburg includes the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, where the summit is taking place.

The G8 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States and the group is sometimes referred to as being made up of the world’s leading industrial nations.

About 1000 churches are to toll their bells starting at 6 p.m. local time. This coincides with the opening of the 6-8 June summit.

The action also marks the start of the opening service in Cologne of the German Protestant Kirchentag, a church congress gathering tens of thousands of people.

Linked to the Kirchentag, about 50 religious leaders from the G8 countries and from Africa are to meet in Cologne to issue an appeal to the world leaders at the Heiligendamm meeting.

(c) Ecumenical News International