Rev Tim Hewes and Ben Buse were jailed for 14 days each on Fri 19th March for contempt of court. Find out more.
Ben and Tim are in Wandsworth Prison. Read on for updates on their situation and ways in which you can stand in solidarity with them from a distance.
- Tim is undertaking an Earth Fast while he is in prison – join him. He has been having water only from the time he arrived until he is released. This is in solidarity with people across the world losing their lives today from famine as a result of this climate emergency and as a prayer for our beautiful and fragile planet that feeds, nourishes and sustains all life. All are welcome to join him in whatever way you feel is appropriate for you. You could fast a meal a day or fast something else (chocolate, Netflix, whatever is a sacrifice for you).
- You can write to Tim and Ben. If you would like to send a message of support to these two courageous men you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Be aware that these emails will not be private. They will be read and printed by the prison authorities before being passed to Ben and Tim.
- We have had press coverage in a range of Christian media, but also in The Times. In this piece, the Oxford of Diocese stressed that it ‘cannot condone’ breaking the law, but said: ‘While Rev Hewe’s protest has broken the law on this occasion, he and fellow activists remind us all of the moral imperative to act, right now, for the sake of the Earth.’
- Ben’s Vicar sent an email to parishioners asking for prayer for Ben and supporting his actions. Here is an extract, published with permission:
Ben has exercised a prophetic ministry in recent times amongst us, and has helped our churches to become aware that we need to respond to the climate emergency critically and practically. With many in our churches, I earnestly believe that the level of human destruction of natural environments is now so extreme that the survival of life on earth is under threat in this century. I am grateful to Ben for his witness as a Christian who is deeply grieved at this destruction of God’s creation, and who has shared this with us in our benefice and at deanery level. Resultantly, for example, all three of our PCCs now plan to consider becoming “Eco Churches”, St Andrew’s has already changed its heating-improvement plan to be much greener; and some want to see our churchyards become more biodiverse and are attending a seminar this week as a start.
The followers of Jesus Christ are not new to peaceful, self-sacrificial protest: the apostles, post-Pentecost, faced repeated imprisonment for preaching the gospel .. and the church spread. Many Christians (and others), including members of my family and friends, faced imprisonment and trial in South Africa following peaceful demonstration against racist oppression – and apartheid fell. It’s so often the young; consider the terrible loss of life currently in Myanmar as students protest against military dictatorship. Of course protesting injustice is never exclusively the prerogative of the church. I quote our curate, Revd Thea, who said to the Zoom congregation at Friday evening prayers, “Most of us on zoom (ie the women) have the freedom to own property, make legal and financial decisions and vote because one hundred years ago women chained themselves to railings and went to prison.”
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