The Christians of Extinction Rebellion, known as Christian Climate Action, are launching ‘40 Days of Action’ – which starts on the 26th February and continues over the 40 days of Lent. People are invited to engage in 40 Days of Action in different ways:
- The 40 Days of Action will be launched on the 26th of February, Ash Wednesday, with a vigil outside Westminster Cathedral at 12 noon and then Westminster Abbey at 2pm. The ask of the event will be calling on Churches and all religious institutions to fully divest from fossil fuels by the end of Lent. Following the Church of England’s recent motion to establish a plan to go net zero emissions by 2030, attendees will also be encouraging the Catholic Church to follow suit. Instead of making the sign of the cross with ash as is traditional, priests will mark a cross onto the foreheads of worshipers using fake crude oil. The ‘oil’ will be used as a symbol of human mortality, as real oil is made up of dead matter, but also of human frailty as we are currently losing the fight against the over consumption of fossil fuels. After this vigil, those involved will then process to Parliament Square.
- Throughout the 40 days of action members of Christian Climate Action will be holding a meditation vigil outside the Houses of Parliament. The vigil is being supported by members of other Extinction Rebellion faith communities and will continue non-stop for the 40 days of Lent until Easter Sunday. It will be focusing on lament for the climate and ecological crisis, and praying for leaders and representatives to find in themselves the courage to take urgent action.
- For many Christians around the world, the season of Lent is a time of sacrifice and fasting – reflecting the 40 days when Jesus of Nazareth went into the desert to fast and be tempted. People are invited to engage in this process with the urgency of the climate crisis in mind. Some may use the period to be in solidarity with those already devastated by the climate and ecological emergency. For others it might be a time of processing climate grief with their local communities. Some individuals might take steps to reduce their carbon footprint or that of their local Church. Others will take up civil disobedience with the goal of pressuring governments to go net zero by 2025. In this spirit, some Christians and XR rebels will be undertaking bold actions throughout Lent to draw attention to the desperate need for government and major corporations to start drastically reducing their carbon emissions.
Nick Cooper, Christian Climate Action member: “This is about system change triggered by personal growth. We invite everyone to journey with us into the wilderness of Lent and encounter the ‘quiet voice’ so often hidden from us in daily life. We need desperately to hear that sacred voice calling us together as a global community, to share what we have left, learning to live simpler more connected lives, and find the courage to take up civil disobedience in the face of an ever more desperate climate and ecological crisis. We need to take courage and stop denying the power that we hold as one sacred and interconnected body.”
Dr Ruth Valerio, global advocacy and influencing director at Tearfund: “The window to address climate breakdown is closing rapidly and the UK government needs to act by getting our finances out of fossil fuels overseas, increasing investment in renewable energy and getting on track to achieve our own net zero commitment. Lent, which is a time of reflection and commitment, is an important time to pray for our politicians to have the courage to take action. The physical presence of this vigil is a reminder of this.”
Nicky Bull, Chair of Operation Noah: “At Operation Noah we are supportive of Christian Climate Action’s plans for a round-the-clock vigil in Parliament Square during Lent 2020. In this important year for action on the climate crisis, we endorse the principles and values of Christian Climate Action and wholeheartedly support a call for more widespread divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment in alternative sustainable energy.”
Rev Daniel Woodhouse, Methodist Minister from Brighton: “’The climate crisis is the defining issue of our generation, which is already having devastating affects around the world. The 40 days of action happening this Lent is a great way of bringing the whole church along as we explore together what being faithful looks like in this time.”
Sr Katrina Alton, Sister of St Joseph of Peace, living in the Nottingham Diocese: “In his most recent apostolic exhortation, ‘Querida Amazonia’, Pope Francis has defined ‘ecological sin’ not only as ‘actions’, but also ‘inaction’, that crucify the poorest and the environment. The Pope goes a step further and says, ‘It is a sin against future generations’. Our presence here in Parliament Square for these 40 days of Lent is a sign of our personal and collective commitment to make the sacrifices required to put pressure on our government to tell the truth and act now!”
LIST OF SPOKESPERSONS
Melanie Nazareth – 07814 716015 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Cooper – 07733 551211 – email@example.com
NOTE TO EDITORS
ABOUT CHRISTIAN CLIMATE ACTION
Christian Climate Action is the name given for the Christians of Extinction Rebellion. We are a community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. Inspired by Jesus Christ, and social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of non-violent direct action to urge those in power to make the change needed.