A love supreme – ACT and faith at New York United Nations week 

“A love supreme!” With these words, Cornel West, well-known US commentator on anti-black racism, ended a multifaith ceremony just before the September 17 New York Climate March to End Fossil Fuels. The ceremony was to create a “sacred space” among marchers in the faith hub part of the march. 

West drew on his own faith background saying he “followed the tradition of the Jesus… who ran out the money-changers from the temple, and we need to run out the fossil-fuel profiteers to make sure there’s air we can breathe and community we can connect to.”

He called the global climate crisis “the blues all the way down. But we have solidarity in the face of catastrophe. Let us dance… a love supreme” referring to US jazz giant John Coltrane’s song of that name.  

The Climate March drew 75,000 creative, passionate souls from around the world, of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, to the streets of Manhattan. Their message to US President Joe Biden was to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It was also directed to the decision-makers who would appear at United Nations General Assembly, particularly at the special September 20 Climate Ambition Summit called by Secretary General Antonio Guterres. 

ACT, its partners and its members made their voices heard in the march and in a series of special presentations throughout the week, on topics as diverse as migration and climate change, adaptation needs and issues, the COP28 Global Stocktake, faith-based perspectives on the SDGs, gender, and support for sexual and reproductive rights. Following the Sustainable Development Goals Summit September 18 and 19, it was a busy week for faith actors near the UN.  


Here are a few of the events of that week. You will find social media posts for some events under the hashtag #ACT4Climate, others under #headwayforadaptation or #allrightsallpeople. All are available on social media site X (formerly Twitter).  

September 19

September 20

  • Taking Stock of our Ambition: Faith-based Action at the UN. Hosted by the Episcopal Church, this workshop encouraged faith groups to look at their own climate actions. It featured an overview of the UNFCCC Global Stocktake process by Athena Peralta of WCC and a faith-based perspective on COP28 by Julius Mbatia of ACT.  
  • ACT member Church World Service hosted a panel presentation by people with lived experience of displacement.

September 21 

September 22

  • The UNFPA launched the High Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit’s third and final report on the sidelines of UNGA78. ACT General Secretary Rudelmar Bueno de Faria was a member of this commission. Tweets use the hashtag #allrightsallpeople: https://twitter.com/ACTAlliance/status/1705216622439305639