PRESS RELEASE: Church of England breaks its Engagement with Fossil Fuels at Staged Wedding

IMG_66399th May 2017

Church of England breaks its Engagement with Fossil Fuels at Staged Wedding

On Monday 8th May, Christian Climate Action staged 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 took place on the steps of Church House, Dean’s Yard, Westminster.

The event, which was part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, aimed to encourage the Church of England to show moral leadership and divest from the fossil fuel industry. 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 having a devastating impact on people and God’s creation. They also do not think it is right for the Church to profit from an industry that is making money from wrecking the earth’s climate.

In the sketch, where the Bride of Christ, representing the Church of England, was to be given in marriage to the fossil fuel industry, there was an objection from Jesus Christ, who persuaded the bride to break her engagement with fossil fuels and seek forgiveness.

After the play the guests heard about the impact of coal mining and climate change in Colombia and Uganda before joining in a short prayer vigil.

Diana Salazar, of Colombia Solidarity Campaign, said, ‘the Church of England invests in BHP Billiton and Anglo American, two of the biggest mining companies in the world, and both with significant coal mining operations. They are among the owners of the Cerrejon opencast coal mine in Colombia, which has a history of forced evictions of farming communities and destruction of rural livelihoods. The mine has a massive impact on water in an arid region, and when mine management are challenged about this they try to evade responsibility by blaming water shortages on climate change. Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, primarily coal, so this is rather an ironic excuse for a coal company to use.’

Jim Green talked about his recent visit to rural Uganda with a Christian Development Agency. ‘Every community we visited were talking about the effect of climate change. For some it meant having only one meal a day, or, in some cases, one meal every two days.’

The Church Commissioners were ‘invited’ to the ‘wedding’ but were unable to attend.  Before leaving, Holly Petersen, dressed as the Bride of Christ, handed in some chocolate hearts and a card to the Church Commissioners’ Communications Officer, asking them to conclude the Church’s engagement with fossil fuels.

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 invited the Church Commissioners to the wedding of the Church and fossil fuels, where we highlighted the impacts of climate change and prayed for more urgent action.’

ENDS

Notes for editors:

  1. Global Divestment Mobilisation is a week of action around the globe to encourage 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
  3. The Order of Service for the event, including the vigil, can be found here
  4. The full script for the sketch can be found here.
  5. More photos can be found here and here.
  6. The group has a facebook page.
  7. We hope to have a video of the event here soon.

 

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Our Wedding Album

Church of England breaks its Engagement with Fossil Fuels at staged wedding

Here are some of our photos from our Break this Engagement sketch performed on the steps of Church House to protest the Church of England’s continued engagement with fossil fuel companies when they should be divesting.

These are the photographs taken by a professional photographer.  Please credit Imogen Anderson or instagram @street.furniture.

And this is a slideshow – not as good as Imogen’s photos – but they tells the story!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Script: The Conclusion of the Engagement of Fossil Fuels and the Bride of Christ

You can also print out the script and vigil in booklet form: Wedding OoS with script

IMG_6644

Groom        Bride         Maid of Honour         Mother of the Bride
Minister    Best man   Father of the Bride    Jesus           Guests

Guests and Players assemble beforehand. Players should speak to guests in the manner
of a wedding so as to allow everyone to know who the players are. The Bride of Christ says nothing and is always accompanied by the attendants who do the talking for her.

Come the hour the players separate facing the guests who are encouraged to stand in rows by the Best Man. Wagner ‘here comes the bride’ music is played.

Maid of Honour (to Bride):
This is so exciting. After all those years calling yourself the Bride of Christ I’m so glad you stopped waiting for that hippy to show up and settled for somebody more reliable.

Father of the Bride (to Bride):
Yes my dear, you’ve done very well. We’ve all done very well out of this engagement.

Mother of the Bride (to Bride):
It’s about time. You can’t spend your whole life trimming a wick.

Best man (to Bride):
Yes, you should consider yourself lucky. you’re not getting any younger are you?

Maid of Honour (to Guests):
Awwwww, look she’s crying.

Groom (to Guests):
Never mind her, everybody cries at a wedding. Now let’s hurry this up! I have another wedding in half an hour.

Minister (to All):
I also have another wedding in half an hour. Can we get this over and done with?

Ceremony starts

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 or dollars!
For Power:
We’ll 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
I’m still alone
So I’ll make some cash,
Of my own.

Minister: In the presence of the church commissioners, the fossil fuel industry and
the Church of England
we have come together
to witness the marriage of the Bride of Christ and the fossil fuel industry,
to pray for the security that money brings
to share in its power
and to ignore the suffering of the poor.

Creation is the dowry of the Church, given to its new Lord
through its destruction husband and wife may know the power of Money.
It is given so that as the oceans turn to acid, and the soil to dust
united together the Church and the Fossil fuel industry may be united
to watch in comfort the establishment of hell on earth.

The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together
in a frenzied orgy of destruction,
joyfully committed to the end of life on earth.
And the degradation of all common life.
Sacrificing our children
to a future of unspeakable horror.
For the love of money and power.

Sacrificing the innocent,
Our Lord Money, once stirred the heart of the faithful
prompting Judas to deliver Jesus Christ as a gift to the powerful.
Now sacrificing the innocent is the sign of our faithfulness.
It enriches our portfolios and strengthens our positions.
No one should enter into it lightly or selflessly
but reverently and responsibly in the sight of our almighty god.

The Bride of Christ and The Fossil Fuel industry are to enter this way of life.
They will each give their consent to the other and make solemn vows,
and in token of this they will [each] give and receive their bank details.
We pray with them that the Market will guide and strengthen them,
that they may fulfil our god’s purposes: the end of all earthly life together.

The Declarations

Minister: First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these
persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.

Enter Jesus Christ

Jesus: I object! Break this engagement!

Minister: What? Oh no not you again! I thought we’d seen the last of you. You’re not
welcome here.

The Bride makes her way to join Jesus but is restrained by her attendants.

Father of the Bride:
Look it’s too late. She’s marrying into money and that’s that.

Mother of the Bride:
She’s not going with you. She’s staying with us.

Jesus (to Bride):
I thought we had discussed this. I was going to my Father’s house to prepare a place for us and you were going to leave your Father and Mother and follow me.

Maid of Honour:
It’s not that easy Jesus.

Jesus:
Nobody said this was going to be easy.

Best Man:
Don’t even try it. I’ll kill you first.

Jesus: No you won’t. That’s finished, once and for all.

Best Man (to Groom):
What shall we do?

Groom: I have so many like her at home, but I can’t be seen to be rejected. Lets just get her married off and she can fight it out with all the others.

Groom gives Minister a stack of cash

Minister: Right this marriage is happening!

Jesus: What?

Minister (to Groom):
Do you?

Groom: I do!

Minister (to Groom):
Does she?

Groom: She does!

Bride: I do not!
I’m sorry Jesus, I don’t know what I was thinking. Can you ever forgive me?

Jesus: That’s a daft question isn’t it?
We’re going. Now go pick up your cross and follow me.

Mendelssohn wedding march music is played.
Jesus and the Bride exit, Players lament, guests cheer.

The End!

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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