The Conclusion of the Engagement of Fossil Fuels and the Bride of Christ – Order of Service

 ( Order of Service in booklet form: WeddingOofS 

Order of Service, including script, in booklet form: Wedding OoS with script )

Divestment Protest Sketch and Vigil

Monday 8th May 12 noon

at

Dean’s Yard, Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ

— Opening —

(Please join in with words in bold)

Minister:   May the dividends of our Lord Fossil Fuel,
the love of Money,
and the fellowship of the Market
be with you.

All:             And with your pension fund.

Minister:   Money is god, and they who own money
are gods and money owns them.

All:          God of Money and might:
                Power comes from you,
                and you alone are the source of status and security.
                Without you we cannot serve you;
                without oil, gas and coal, our lives are worth nothing.
                Send the love of power,
                and pour into our hearts
                that most excellent gift of money,
                that we may worship you now
                with hungry hearts
                and serve you always with bloody hands,
                through fossil fuels.          Amen.

— A Hymn —

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
Make me some cash
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your books,
And make me some ready cash.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Through death’s dark vale
All doom and gloom,
My faith grows frail.
Some oil stained cash would fill me with glee
And financial security.

For Mamon:
Pounds, Euros, dollars!
For Power:
We will install a King!
For those, well,
I wouldn’t bother
If Climate Change destroyed everything.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Roofs low on thatch
Don’t pay for themselves.
With this useless batch.
I once had high hopes
And now I’m still alone
So I’ll make some cash,
Of my own.

— The Marriage (Or is it?)

— The End —

— Prayer Vigil —

Climate Impacts

Short talks about the impact of the Church’s investments in Columbia and Uganda.

A reading

Corinthians 13: 1 – 13

Prayers

(Please join in with words in bold)

To you, Creator of nature and humanity, of truth and beauty, we pray:

We remember all those who suffer because of climate change.

All those who go hungry because they cannot grow food due to drought and irregular rainfall. We remember all victims of the famine in East Africa.

We remember all those who cannot breathe easily and have to wear masks because the air is so polluted.

We remember those whose homes have been destroyed by hurricanes and cyclones.

We remember the people buried by mudslides due to heavy rainfall in Mocoa, Columbia.

This is our cry.  Lord listen to our cry

We mourn the destruction of plant and animal life due to climate change.

The destruction of ecosystems which support a complex web of life leading to loss of species.

The destruction of rainforests by mass logging.

The further damage to the corals of the Great Barrier Reef caused by the battering of Cyclone Debbie on the coast of Queensland. The loss of bird and plant life in the wetlands of the Caley valley due to overspill from a coal port in the flooding caused by the cyclone.

This is our cry.  Lord listen to our cry

We confess our guilt.

We confess our complicity in the destruction of your creation with all the misery it causes now and will cause in the future.

We confess our addiction to fossil fuels and the easy lifestyle they give us.

We confess our timidity in speaking out about the effects of climate change and challenging those in powerful positions.

Our acceptance of a consumer culture which uses up the resources of the earth.

This is our cry. Lord listen to our cry.

We ask your help.

Show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth.

Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may love the common good and strengthen those who are in need.

We bring before you the Church Commissioners and their staff. May they listen to the cry of the earth and the poor and those yet to be born, and divest from fossil fuels. May their hearts be moved to put your creation first in making their decisions. Give them courage to invest in projects that bring life not death to your world.

Teach them and us to discover the worth of each thing and to recognise that we are profoundly connected to every creature.

Seize all your people with your power and light. Help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice for all people and for the earth.

This is our cry. Lord listen to our cry.

Praise be to you, O Christ
Your Spirit is with us.
Your Spirit is with the Church Commissioners
Praise be to you, O Christ.

— A Hymn —

  1. Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
    forgive our foolish ways;
    reclothe us in our rightful mind,
    in purer lives thy service find,
    in deeper reverence, praise.
  2. In simple trust like theirs who heard,
    beside the Syrian sea,
    the gracious calling of the Lord,
    let us, like them, without a word,
    rise up and follow thee.
  3. O sabbath rest by Galilee,
    O calm of hills above,
    where Jesus knelt to share with thee
    the silence of eternity,
    interpreted by love.
  4. Drop thy still dews of quietness,
    till all our strivings cease;
    take from our souls the strain and stress,
    and let our ordered lives confess
    the beauty of thy peace.
  5. Breathe through the heats of our desire
    thy coolness and thy balm;
    let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
    speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
    O still, small voice of calm.

    – End of Vigil — 

    Divest from Fossil Fuels and End this Engagement!

    All fossil fuel emissions cause further warming and more extreme weather across the world.

    Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is now primarily a justice issue because burning more of them increases

    – the destruction of God’s creation

    – the suffering of the poorest peoples, and

    – the growing climate insecurity which is predicted for the generations who follow us.

    Divestment from fossil fuels and investment in renewables and energy efficiency is first and foremost about respect for God and for God’s gift of life in all its fullness. Its economic and financial aspects must be secondary to this.

    We call on the Church Commissioners to end their investments in fossil fuels and to re-invest in renewables and energy efficiency.

    — What is this all about? —

    The Church of England has investments in fossil fuels and is therefore financing the destruction of God’s creation through climate change.

    Their reason for continuing to invest is that they are engaging with the industry.  The already dangerous levels of carbon in the atmosphere mean there is not time for this to work.  We call on the Church Commissioners to end their engagement with fossil fuels and to re-invest in renewables and energy efficiency.

     

    ‘People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change … We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.  

     

    It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future. To serve as custodians of creation is not an empty title; it requires that we act, and with all the urgency this dire situation demands.’

    Desmond Tutu

    Christian Climate Action

    Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other in following Jesus Christ in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, in acts of non-violent direct action. We are based in the UK.

    www.christianclimateaction.wordpress.com

    facebook.com/christianclimateaction/

    twitter.com/cclimateaction/

Staged wedding calls for Church of England to break its engagement with fossil fuels

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

4th May 2017

Staged wedding calls for Church of England to break its engagement with fossil fuels

Contact Caroline Harmon: 07954 377569

Photo Opportunity: Dean’s Yard, Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ, Monday 8th May, midday

Christian Climate Action is staging a wedding between the Church of England and fossil fuels, to protest the Church’s continued investment in the industry. The sketch and short prayer vigil will take place in front of Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, on Monday 8th May at midday.

The event, which is timed to be part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, aims to encourage the Church of England to show moral leadership and divest from companies causing climate change. Currently the Church is pursuing a policy of engagement – holding shares in the industry and using shareholder status to try to change the industry’s behaviour. Christian Climate Action believes that engagement cannot work because there is not enough time for it to prevent runaway climate change which will have a catastrophic impact on people and God’s creation. The group alsos do not think it is right for the Church to profit from an industry that is making money from wrecking the earth’s climate.

Caroline Harmon of Christian Climate Action said:

The Church of England claims to be a responsible investor, and has a strong moral voice. It claims to understand the threat and urgency of climate change, yet instead of divesting from the biggest fossil fuel companies, they continue to engage. As part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation we have invited the Church Commissioners to the wedding of the Church and fossil fuels, where we’ll highlight the impacts of climate change and pray for more urgent action.’

All are welcome to attend the event, and are invited to come dressed for a wedding.

ENDS

Contact Caroline Harmon: 07954 377569

Notes for editors:

  1. Global Divestment Mobilisation is a week of action around the globe to encouraging divestment from the fossil fuel industry: https://globaldivestmentmobilisation.org/
  2. Christian Climate Action is a community of Christians supporting each other in following Jesus Christ in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, in acts of non-violent direct action. We are based in the UK. https://christianclimateaction.wordpress.com

 

Call Off This Engagement!

bridal rings
Church divestment vigil and sketch.
You are cordially invited to the wedding of the Bride of Christ (the Church) to Mr Fossil
on
Monday 8th May 12 noon
at
Dean’s Yard, Great Smith St, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ
The Church of England claims to be a responsible investors, and has a strong moral voice. It claims to understand the threat and urgency of climate change, yet instead of divesting from the biggest fossil fuel companies, they continue to engage.
What is it the Church sees in fossil fuels? Is it love?
We do hope you can join us to celebrate this match made in heaven. Or is it hell?
I must warn you, there is a possibility that the wedding might not go through. There may be an objection. It could be that Marion Haste decides to call off her engagement with Mr Fossil….
Put the date in your diary, dig out your best wedding hat and join us to find out!
Photo thanks to Antonio Delgado on Flickr

Swapping Gloss for Whitewash

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Vigil held by CCA and friends outside the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy in November 2016 to mark one year since the Paris Climate Accord.

In 2015, on the first day of the Paris Climate Summit, members of Christian Climate Action daubed the Department of Energy and Climate Change with whitewash, painting on it the new title ‘Department for Extreme Climate Change’. We were charged with criminal damage, convicted and fined. Thank you to our supporters for your support throughout this, on the day of trial and for help with the fines. One year later in 2016 we whitewashed the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (since DECC is dissolved) and delivered 20kg of melting ice to their lobby while a vigil took place (holding a banner saying ‘Happy Birthday Paris, Our condolences to the Arctic’). We were not arrested, however the ice was not returned to us. What follows is a reflection on the motivation for these acts from one member of Christian Climate Action.

There is a joke that goes: ‘What can think the unthinkable?’ The answer is: ‘An itheberg!’.

titanicjoke

I like this joke as it deftly reminds us that the sinking of the Titanic was unthinkable. The predicament we find ourselves in has been likened to the sinking of the Titanic as we can’t seem to believe our great technical masterpiece of a civilization is vulnerable to the restraints of reality and thus we are unable to come to terms with the prognosis for our great global project.

When I worked in a hospital as a Radiotherapy Physicist, sometimes I would hear of the difficult role of doctors when speaking to cancer patients of their condition. Therapy can often effectively contribute to a positive outcome in cancer treatment but sometimes it cannot.

Sometimes a doctor will be tempted to mislead a patient as to the effectiveness of a treatment or the likely prognosis of their condition. Doctors need to contend with their own need to feel powerful but also patients or their families want their doctors to lie to them due to being unable or unwilling to accept their loss and powerlessness. Denial is common when hearing bad news. Grieving is associated with shock/denial, anger, bargaining, guilt/depression and acceptance (also sometimes called hope). We can often see these stages played out in our loved ones dealing with loss, even if we cannot see it in ourselves.

Nobody envies a doctor’s role in these difficult conversations. However,doctors are compensated, trained, resourced and esteemed due to this role we require of them. A doctor who tells you what you want to hear is negligent. A doctor who misleads you for personal gain or to advance the agenda of their sponsors would likely be struck off and possibly arrested.

This all comes to mind when it comes to painting whitewash on government departments with responsibilities for climate change.

We are in a desperate situation. The extent to which we have destabilized the climate will have catastrophic consequences. This is a result of our approach to life, not just how we choose to fuel our lives, but how we see the world and choose to interact with it. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are all stages we need to contend with while grieving this. This is inevitable and unavoidable and should be treated compassionately. However some are willing to exploit others in their grieving or encourage grievers to remain in the stage they are in. Denial serves the status quo, anger the activism industry, bargaining the ethical consumption industry and depression the self care industry. Acceptance seems to be good business for nobody but may allow us to be of some use.

brokenglass

Since it is not climate change we are grieving but imminent, catastrophic, multivariate systemic collapse, we are grieving more than one thing at once and we grieve different stages concurrently (e.g. we might be in denial over the failure of the market, anger over the failure of democracy, as we bargain using low energy light-bulbs to offset our guilt over what we have done to our children but boasting about our acceptance of the reality of climate change). These stages of grief interfere with each other and it is all very complicated. None of us have made it to the other side but it is essential that we find some way of speaking honestly of our situation if we are ever going to make progress. We do not seem to be willing to speak honestly about what is going on. Even those of us who have a prophetic obligation find it difficult to discuss these things.

It should not surprise us then that we do not have a government who is willing to speak honestly about our condition or our likely prognosis. What is true of our government is also true of our church leadership (how many marriage courses warn couples that there may be no food for their impending children). It is also true of the many movements who would assure us we have decades to convince and soften the hearts of our ignorant, careless leaders with our marches, petitions and internet memes while promising we can relive the gay days of the British Empire. It is not clear how far any of us would get in any area of life if we were not willing to lie about this, affirming the ignorance and prejudice of our supporters. We are a people who are desperate to be lied to. We cannot accept how far we have gone astray from the way of life. We cannot accept that we are powerless to turn our systems, our institutions or even our own lives around.

Nevertheless, we often tell ourselves that we can turn around centuries of habitual violence and decades of climatic abuse in a time frame of years. Some would even tell us that the future technological utopia, made of materials and with labour from people kept out of sight out of mind, will somehow mark a break from our pattern so far. We are happy to be told that we can maintain lifestyles entirely dependent upon global injustice, decimation and blood-letting and do so with clean hands, even clean green hands. We speak of justice when we mean ‘just us’ and expect heaven on earth to result. We can barely speak of climate change – but climate change is just the strange fruit of a tree we will not even look at. To be radical is to look to the roots. We often call ourselves radical Christians but we are far from it.

We are a society in trouble. It is unfair to blame any one person or section of society for this. It is also counterproductive. Nevertheless we live in some sort of democracy. We have a government which represents us. Like the doctors described above, we appoint Government ministers and civil servants to act with integrity, making difficult decisions and giving us bad news.

Instead we have deception hidden behind respectable facades. In 2015 this government took us to the Paris Climate Summit claiming global leadership while actively promoting climate wrecking policies. This year the Department for Energy and Climate Change no longer exists. Now responsibilities for climate change belong to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This alone should intimate the priority climate change has for this government.

dbeis2016_7
Melting ice overlooked by staff at DBEIS.  As seen from exterior.

At a symbolic level, our nation’s disregard for the climate crisis was well served by the offices of DECC with their respectable, sturdy facade hiding corruption and deception. Now the Portland stone of DECC has been replaced by BEIS’s glass frontage. This new facade is as transparent as the change of name but the deception continues within. Somehow we are told that this government is taking climate change seriously.

In this light the words of Ezekiel chapter 13 and Matthew 23 seem very appropriate. The painting of whitewash a symbolic correction to the these duplicitous facades.

Some green Christians took issue with our criminal damage. It was certainly criminal as we were arrested and then almost arrested the second time.

I take issue with the notion we damaged DECC or BEIS. A building, certainly a government building, serves at least two purposes. One is practical – it shelters its staff from the weather and allows them sockets to plug their photocopiers and computers into. The second is one of propaganda, projecting a narrative of legitimate power and respectability. We did no damage to the buildings of DECC or BEIS in the first sense as I reminded the magistrate at our trial – removing our work was entirely optional as it did not hinder the work of the department at all. In the second sense, damaging their ability to appear respectable and legitimate was entirely our intention and our prophetic obligation.

Climate Change_02
5 members of CCA painting the portland stone exterior of DECC in Nov 2015 on the first day of the Paris Climate Summit.
dbeis2016_6
3 members of CCA painting the glass exterior of DBEIS while donating ice the the lobby.

Challenging the narratives of the powerful is the task of every Christian. As is advancing the narrative of the vulnerable God we serve. This empire we have built for ourselves as an act of worship will fall. It will be for the best that it falls but it will not fall gracefully. Like all of us, coming to terms with death will not come easily for it. We who have come to rely on the idols of our age will suffer most when they fail us – an

allotment does not hasten the end of the supermarkets but will soften the blow when they disappear. We are called to flee from this evil age. We are reminded also that we are under grace and not judgement.

As dis-empowering as grace is, it also will sustain us as we look honestly into our position.

Not all are called to be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. Clearly following the arrestable Christ does not mean arrest for everybody, just as following the executed Christ has only meant execution for some.

So, while we invite you to join us in our various acts of holy obedience/civil disobedience, we urge you to remember that we are one Church, have one God and have one mission: to offer hospitality to the Kingdom of Heaven, so as to witness to the transformation of this earth into the new earth – into the likeness of Christ – by the power of God, whose power appears weak rather than the horrific power of men.

– The End –

dbeis2016_3