On a Sunday evening at the end of a busy week, it feels like a good time to pause and reflect on all that has happened over the last few days.
After many months of planning, it all began on Monday with the taking of the Faith Bridge, with a vision of creating a space for worship and prayer across the river. The police had other ideas and the bridge was swiftly cleared – but not before a show of support from several Christian NGOs, and the arrest of 13 members of CCA.
On Tuesday we had re-located to Trafalgar Square, and pitched a marquee alongside our friends from XR’s other faith groups. We shared times of prayer, using the Franciscan hours, and praying and meditating with those of other faiths. The climate is bigger than all of us, and multi-faith solidarity has been a powerful witness this week. Tuesday also saw 10 people reaffirm their baptism in a paddling pool in the street!
Wednesday began with a gathering of clergy, led by Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool. They read the Book of Revelation from the steps of the National Gallery. In the afternoon we celebrated the eucharist in the street.
Thursday was a day of action at London City Airport, which plans to double in size. There were activists in planes, on planes and on the building, and members of CCA sitting on the ground outside. Seven Christians were arrested at the airport.
On Friday we regrouped at Trafalgar Square to share communion, and help to hold the site. We joined XR Buddhists on a meditative march, and XR Muslims in Sufi singing.
The faith area of Trafalgar Square continued to host regular prayer, Quaker worship, and meditation into Saturday. We supported those holding the site against as the police moved to confine the protest to the square itself. With thousands of others, we created an extinction march through London and Oxford Street.
Which brings us to Sunday, and a rainy day in Trafalgar Square. Members of CCA joined worshippers at Catholic Westminster Cathedral, and called attention to the words of Pope Francis. The bishop of Colchester paid us a visit, and in the afternoon activists stood with disabled XR members at New Scotland Yard, protesting at the treatment of the disabled over the course of the week.
That’s week one, with news of further arrests this evening outside New Scotland Yard.
Thank you to all who have prayed with us on site, at church or at home. It has been an incredible week, with more to come as we stand in defence of God’s creation.
For more, several of us feature on the Things Unseen podcast, and the XR podcast. Phil Kingston was profiled in the Mirror, Helen Burnett and others in the Telegraph, and there were several familiar faces in a gallery of ‘arrestables’ in the Guardian.