NEW REFORMATION STREET THEATRE AND VIGIL

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Join them!

On Monday 4th December, 12 noon, Pope Francis and Martin Luther will be visiting the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to call for a radical reformation of the economy, to protect human-kind and abundant life on earth.

It will be the third year in a row that CCA has visited the department responsible for climate change to remind our government of their commitments under the Paris Agreement.

We will be visiting BEIS because we disagree with the premise of the department, that climate instability should be solved as part of a strategy for economic growth.  We don’t think that the threat to the viability of life on earth should be dealt with within an immovable economic ideology, but should be the number one priority, choosing the economic system that is fair and just and gives us the best chance of survival. As Pope Francis has said, ‘money should serve, not rule.’

While we welcome some elements of your recent, hugely delayed, Clean Growth Strategy, it just isn’t enough to meet the Climate Act targets, let alone the Paris targets that are required to give ‘future generations a fighting chance.’  

It seems to us that the short-term health of the economy is being prioritised above the health of the planet.  The state of the earth is desperate. We have all the information, science and technology to lead the world away from the cliff-edge of climate instability towards a sustainable future for God’s creation and coming generations. Whether we have the time is debatable. We must act now.

At noon on December 4th, Pope Francis and Martin Luther will witness to the truth that BEIS is currently failing in its job of protecting the climate and will call for a radical reformation of the economy.  There will also be a vigil to pray for the department and for our country, and all of us, to do what is required to protect God’s earth.

If you can come:

We will be in the Wesley’s Cafe, located on the lower ground floor of Central Hall Westminster, from 10am.

We are in need of the following – please let us know if you can help!

  1. A video-er
  2. A photographer
  3. Someone who could do ‘facebook live’
  4. Someone who could tweet
  5. People to hand out service sheets and leaflets
  6. Someone to make a banner
  7. People to hold the banner and placard

 

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Does the Holy Spirit inspire our campaigning?

Holy_Spirit_as_Dove_(detail)About 35 years ago I became a supporter of Cafod.  Whilst my heart was clearly being stirred, my faith then was more from my head than my heart. I later joined a parish Charismatic Prayer Group and was introduced to a new understanding of the Holy Spirit. Through an Alpha course I came to appreciate more this prayer of the heart. However, in both the parish group and the Alpha course, I didn’t experience much interest in work for peace and justice, especially the social-structural approach of Catholic Social Teaching.

Since then I have tried always to link prayer and activism. I have come to recognise the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, just as Jesus promised. This has been accompanied by puzzlement because both in homilies and talking with Catholics, including JPCC activists, I have heard little about the actions of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Assuming that this is a general aspect of British Catholic culture, it is extraordinarily different from that described in the Acts of the Apostles where the Holy Spirit’s presence shines throughout. A practical fruit of this was an amazing sharing where ‘those who had acquired land or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale to be distributed by the apostles according to each one’s need’.

Pope Francis, in his clear and homely way, often speaks about the Holy Spirit. E.g. as: ‘’our travelling companion…. the sweet guest of the heart’’; One who gives strength ‘’to speak the truth without compromise’’. ‘’For anyone who is born of the Spirit, he or she follows….without knowing where it will end.’’  And ‘’The cross cannot be taken away from the life of a Christian, (so) ask God for the grace of not being afraid because the Lord said: the Spirit will tell us what to answer.’’

I was a shy person for much of my early life. I now do things which I wouldn’t previously have considered and I give thanks to God and the support of many people for that. I have become more willing to follow Jesus, both in his speaking truth to power and his non-violent actions in the Temple forecourt. My experience of the Spirit’s prompting is that when it arrives it usually feels exactly right; but that this is often quickly followed by thoughts like ‘people will think I’m nuts if I do that’’. I check this out with others who I believe are Spirit-filled, and usually recognise that my fear of consequences and of not being accepted are impeding the prompt. I have come to trust that if I follow it, then, according to the discernment of others, an aspect of God’s reign generally results. I ask if readers of this will consider writing about their own experiences of the Holy Spirit, via Readers’ Letters?

Pope Francis has called the entire Church to respond to the 19th November first World Day of the Poor. In a statement in which he twice refers to the Holy Spirit, he also says ‘’Let us never forget that, for Christ’s disciples, poverty is above all a call to follow Jesus in his own poverty’’ and adds ‘’St. John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness’’.

Phil praying

Phil Kingston is a member of Grandparents for a Safe Earth and Christian Climate Action.

The Universe Catholic Weekly published this in August 2017.

PRESS RELEASE: Pressure mounts on Church of England to divest from Exxon

 

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21 September 2017

Christian campaigners are calling on the Church of England to disinvest from US oil giant ExxonMobil, on the basis of new evidence that the company intentionally misled the public on climate change.

Last night (Wednesday 20 September), supporters of Operation Noah and Christian Climate Action held a vigil outside Church House in London, the home of Church of England investors, to pray that they would cut financial ties with Exxon.

A recent peer-reviewed study published by Harvard academics shows that ExxonMobil knew about climate change in the 1970s, yet its public communications intentionally cast doubt over whether climate change was real and caused by human activity. ExxonMobil is currently under investigation by the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts, as well as the FBI, over whether the company misled the public about the risks of climate change.

Ruth Jarman of Christian Climate Action said: ‘As tragic extreme weather events across the world highlight the consequences of inaction on climate change, we wanted to shine a spotlight on a company which we now know is responsible for at least some of this inaction. It cannot be right for a church, which should be providing moral leadership, to ignore Exxon’s gross corporate social irresponsibility.’

James Buchanan of Operation Noah said: ‘We believe that the Church of England should immediately divest from ExxonMobil. The ethical grounds for divestment are now overwhelming. The possibility that, following recent extreme weather events in the US, oil companies may face climate lawsuits also means that investors should divest now or face the risk of significant financial losses.’

Revd. Dr. Darrell Hannah, rector of All Saints’, Ascot Heath, said: ‘It is now clear that ExxonMobil engineered a thirty year campaign to mislead the public on the scientific evidence for climate change. Their current business plan for the coming decades, while acknowledging that climate change is real and dangerous, proceeds with a business-as-usual approach. The Church of England, by continuing to invest in ExxonMobil, participates in their reckless exploitation of God’s world. It is time for the Church to take its money elsewhere. Anything less would mean failing to live up to our prophetic calling.’

Prayer and public witness against fracking

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We travelled around the Midlands yesterday, praying at potential fracking sites:

On Tuesday 22nd August, members of Christian Climate Action drove to sites in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to publicly pray against local plans to explore for oil and gas.  

Members of the local community were grateful for their presence.

‘I hope it works – we have been praying since January!’ said a passing driver as the group stopped to pray at a site in Marsh Lane, the first site in Derbyshire that has submitted a planning application.  

At Tinker Lane, the second site in Nottinghamshire that has been granted planning permission for an exploratory well, the group met a member of the local opposition group.

The final stop was Shirebrook Woods – a Forestry Commission-managed part of Sherwood Forest.

‘Surrounded by beautiful countryside, it was easy to give thanks and praise for God’s creation,’ said Christian Climate Action’s Ruth Jarman. ‘But it was hard to imagine a 60m high drilling rig towering over the fields and forests, a symbol of the utter folly of continuing to explore for more oil and gas when we must leave 90% of all known reserves in the ground to maintain abundant life on earth as we know it. It felt right to be here.  We prayed for strength and perseverance for the local opposition groups and for repentance and conversion of people in the gas companies and government, and all of us, as we seek to learn to live within our means in God’s earth.’

Film and Press Release: Divest Exxon Day

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BBC South Today filmed the whole day and they have kindly let us have their film.

Grandparents for a Safe Earth also made this video.

PRESS RELEASE 1st JUNE

FIRST EVER CLIMATE CHANGE DEMO OUTSIDE EXXONMOBIL FAWLEY REFINERY CALLS ON CHURCH TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS

Yesterday, the day of ExxonMobil’s AGM, a coalition of faith and non-faith groups staged events to call for the Church of England to divest from the company.

Renewables are foreverEarly in the morning, demonstrators gathered outside Fawley refinery, handing leaflets to staff as they entered. Then at 4pm, faith and non-faith groups held a vigil outside Salisbury Cathedral before delivering a letter into the office of the Bishop of Salisbury, the lead bishop for Environmental Affairs in the Church of England, requesting that the Church divests from ExxonMobil.

Hours before the passing of a resolution on climate change at ExxonMobil’s AGM in Houston –  put forward by a group of institutional investors, including the Church of England – campaigners called on the Church to sell its shares in the company whatever the outcome of the vote.

Time to Cycle lead a bike ride through the New Forest between the two locations.

Dave and barrieRuth Jarman, a member of the Church of England said, ‘When the Church should be showing moral leadership to protect the millions of lives devastated every year by climate change, they’re being taken for a ride by the very company causing the problem. By continuing to hope that ExxonMobil is going to change its stripes, the Church of England is buying cover for one of the most notorious companies blocking action on climate change, including funding climate denying politicians and fake science.

‘The Church of England needs to wake up, follow the example of hundreds of other faith leaders around the world and cut its ties with these companies. The church should be filling the moral void created by these companies, not falling into it.’

Sigurd Reimers, of Grandparents for a Safe Earth, said, ‘Shareholder engagement is often an excellent way to make a company more ethical. But it takes time. And we don’t have time. This resolution is a ‘step zero’ in the task of fixing ExxonMobil.  It is simply asking ExxonMobil to disclose the effect of climate change on its business when we should be asking the exact opposite – for it to disclose the effect of its business on climate change.  And to act on that information.’  

IMG_6725Alison Craig, of the Salisbury Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, said, ‘The passing of the resolution at the AGM is a dangerous distraction.  It merely asks the company to disclose financial figures that have nothing whatsoever to do with cleaning-up their business. In the meantime, the Church will continue to make money out of causing climate change. This is wrong. The Church of England needs to get out of oil and gas, starting with ExxonMobil.’

Notes to editors

  1.    Fawley is the only ExxonMobil refinery in the UK, and is the largest and most complex in Europe.
  2.    The flyer that was handed to staff explaining the unethical behaviour of ExxonMobil is here.
  3.    The AGM resolution by a group of investors, including the Church of England, called for ExxonMobil to disclose the extent to which global action to tackle climate change will negatively impact the company’s future earnings. The Resolution was passed by 62.3% of the vote despite strong opposition from the ExxonMobil Board.
  4.    The strategy of ‘engagement’ by the Church with fossil fuel companies does not go far enough for divestment campaigners. For example a letter to the Church Times by 3 bishops and 27 other clergy on 5/5/17 called for the church pensions board to divest from fossil fuels.
  5.    In 2015 the Church moved to divest £12m from tar sands oil and thermal coal from its £9bn fund but has resisted calls for all out fossil fuel divestment. Church Commissioners have declined to disclose the sum invested in ExxonMobil, thought to be millions: their Annual Report (page 78) discloses the identity of their top 20 holdings only.
  6.    On 15th May 2017 The Guardian reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, may have played a crucial role in the decision by the investment company BMO Global Asset Management, to dump £20m of shares in firms such as BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, because of climate change. The Archbishop is President of BMO’s responsible investment committee.
  7.    More information on the Divest ExxonMobil Day can be found at https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/divest-ExxonMobil-day-join-us/
  8.    The campaigners’ coalition includes 350.org, Christian Climate Action, Fossil Free UK,  Grandparents for a Safe Earth, Salisbury Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, Salisbury Greenpeace, Time to Cycle.
  9.    There is a petition to register support for the Church of England to divest from fossil fuels here.

10.The fossil fuel divestment movement saw its beginnings in North America, Europe and Australia and has since become the fastest growing divestment movement in history.  Global commitments to divest have already reached 710 institutions across 76 countries, representing well over US$5.5 trillion in assets under management.

ENDS

BBC South Today filmed the whole day and they have kindly let us have their film.

And Exxon very kindly put up a fence for our banner:

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