St Paul's Cathedral to host vigil against global corruption

On Monday 14 October people will gather on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral in London to take a stand against corruption.

The vigil is the first event of the EXPOSED Week of Action, which aims to 'shine a light' on global corruption.

EXPOSED is an international coalition of Christian churches, businesses and individuals working to highlight the impact of corruption on the poor and speak out for honesty in financial dealings across the globe.

The campaigners say that an estimated 21 trillion US dollars is currently hidden by individuals in tax havens and phantom companies. They predict that illegal tax evasion will contribute to the deaths of 5.6 million children in developing countries between 2000 and 2015.

Next month people will gather at St Paul's at 6pm for one of the 2,000 global vigils that are being held around the world between October 14 and 20.

Participants will include the London Community Gospel Choir, Lord Leslie Griffiths, and Bishop Pete Broadbent.

There will be a time of prayer and those attending the vigils are being asked to bring a form of light with them, such as a phone, candle or torch so that they can 'shine a light' during the event.

Others vigils are being planned for Kenya, Australia and the White House in Washington DC.

Amanda Jackson, Head of Policy and Campaigns of Micah Challenge International, a member of the coalition, hopes to change the tax culture by encouraging Christians to take a stand and urge governments and businesses to change the way they operate.

She said: "We need governments to crack down on tax evasion and we need businesses to disclose all their payments and profits. That will help to end the secrecy and will free up funds to spend on basic services."

Micah Challenge International has devised a toolkit for business managers who need help in taking the next step against corruption.

During the rest of the Week of Action, EXPOSED campaigners will be in the Chapel of St Michael and St George in St Paul's Cathedral collecting signatures for the EXPOSED Global Call to End Corruption, a petition that calls for open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance.

Over the course of the campaign, EXPOSED to gain the support of 100 million people.

Jackson continued: "We also want Christians involved in business to see financial integrity as a key aspect of doing 'good' business."

"Our prayers can cry out for justice and for God-honouring government. Our signatures on the Global Call can show governments that Christians and all citizens want change."

She concluded: "In the long-term, we want everyone to feel that corruption is not acceptable - it's not 'just the way things are'. And we can be part of a movement of Christians that shines God's light."