The below post is by Rebekah – a new member of CCA, who recounts how she found taking part in the September Rebellion. It was her first time getting involved with a non-violent direct action group.
This was my first public outing as an activist and nothing could have prepared me for the experience.
On the first day…
It crashed into me before I reached the exit stairs, getting louder until I was submerged. I emerged from the station (but not the noise) under a beautiful blue sky, marred only by the ever-present helicopter.
Is this what it felt like in Jericho?
My concern for the environment is central to the Catholic Church’s preferential option for the poor. If I am to take this seriously then I can not ignore what we are doing to the earth, our plundering of resources for the greed and profit of a few to the detriment and often death of the rest of the world.
Until now I have been a quiet environmentalist. I talk about the issues to anyone who will stand still (and to some that won’t), I’ve written letters, signed petitions, encouraged others to sign with me. My values influence my prayer and my work, every type of shopping, the companies I will and will not buy from, my home and my family.
Yet more and more often these actions left me restless.
They were no longer radical.
They were no longer enough.
The Lord was gently and quietly asking me for courage, to go further, to be more.
Christian Climate Action
I joined CCA with the intention of joining the Lent Vigil. I never made it but continued to follow them on social media and reading articles on the website and in July signed up to an Affinity group for the September Rebellion. Being part of a group gave me the courage I needed to be part of something bigger, more radical, and deafeningly louder than anything I had done before.
At the opening service on Monday night I heard one of the speakers say the Prayer is rebelling and that silence is powerful. The next day I sat opposite a line of police officers and prayed: for the earth, for the environment, for the bill, for those in poverty, for XR and CCA, for those arrested, and for the police officers in front of me. It did indeed feel rebellious and powerful.
I am a Martha more than a Mary. My faith is more action than contemplation.
Not one for sitting on the fence, I certainly would not be sitting in the road either. ‘Non arrestable’ I firmly declared when asked hoping my voice did not betray my fear.
I offered to be the arrestee contact for my group and did some police station support shifts but that was close enough for me.
Until our evening Eucharist. As Rev Helen prepared the space for us to celebrate Eucharist the police began to clear Parliament Square as Section 14 finished at 7pm.
The holy space ready, we gathered round while the rest of the square began to empty. A police officer approached and began to ask us to disperse. Rev Helen, spirit filled began the opening blessing and he walked away, we were left to complete the Service. I have not been to Mass nor felt the need to receive Communion since lockdown. I miss my worshipping community with a profound ache. I miss being grounded by the Liturgical cycle, but I am tired.
Yet that evening I knew I had changed. If I had been arrested for breaking Section 14 while at prayer I would not have resisted. I felt a peace, the peace you find when you come home, tired but with joy.
And may I be noisy enough to join with others to bring the walls of power tumbling down.