two women in a street market in Arusha, Tanzania

The webinar, entitled “Towards a Sustainable Future”, was hosted on 7 April by the United Church of Christ’s Wider Church Ministries as part of its “Wednesdays With the World” series.

Ryan Smith, WCC programme executive for the Ecumenical United Nations Office (New York), urged people not to forget the importance of the SDGs even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The SDGs are really shaping the UN agenda,” he said. "Here in New York, they call them the ‘global goals.’ ”

Smith explained that, when the goals were created, the UN held global consultations and really listened to people’s needs, “not just governments and rich people.”

The SDGs aren’t perfect, Smith acknowledged. “But we can’t use COVID as an excuse to forget all the other work that was happening and needs to continue happening.”

Rev. Matthew Ross, WCC programme executive for Diakonia and Capacity Building, emphasized how human interconnectivity is vital in reaching the SDGs.

“The basic aim is to make life a bit better for the world’s poorest people,” said Ross. “It’s all of us together. If we take the message of Jesus, we do have an opportunity to make a difference for people who really, really need it. We are interdependent in this world: it is right that the church takes an interest in the SDG agenda.”

United Church of Christ associate general minister Karen Georgia Thompson said the webinar series offers “opportunities of a ‘glocal’ scope and involvement with many issues.

“In Wider Church Ministries, we are connecting the members and settings of the United Church of Christ with the world. We are globally focused and locally rooted,” she said. “We will be highlighting the ways in which the quest for justice is intersectional and global, allowing UCC members greater opportunities for increased awareness of global concerns — our connectedness — and highlighting options for advocacy and action.”

Watch the webinar “Towards a Sustainable Future”