Ten Christians, including a member of the clergy, held a protest at Wells Cathedral to urge the Diocese of Bath and Wells and 14 other Church of England dioceses to commit to divest from fossil fuels and to invest in clean energy before a meeting of world leaders to discuss climate change in November.
Here they explain why they took part.
‘How could I not take part? I find it deeply shocking that many Dioceses in the Church of England, knowing all that they do as to the lethal effect of fossil fuels on all life on earth, are nevertheless prepared to gain financially through their continuing investment in the industry. The Church in all its forms needs to be taking a prophetic stand and calling on the Government to end all new exploration. How can it do this when it continues to benefit in such a direct and obvious way, as does the Diocese of Bath & Wells?’ – Reverend Sue Parfitt, 80
‘Fossil fuels are killing us. We are facing the collapse of everything we know and love. People are dying and losing their homes now because of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. It is abhorrent that the Church should continue to support and profit from investment in these killers. We have alternatives. Let’s invest in those.’ – Liz Rosser, 74, Retired Teacher
‘Our faith calls us to care for each other and creation. All the evidence tells us that fossil fuels are destroying our common home. We need the church to act out of love and justice and stop investing in fossil fuels now. I feel ashamed to belong to a church that continues with these investments. – Morwenna White-Thomson, 63, retired Speech and Language Therapist
‘Jesus says ‘where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ The Church of England has treasure that is destroying the future. What does that say about our heart? How can I not protest this corruption at the core of the church to which I belong?’ – Ruth Jarman, 59, Charity Administrator who worships at her local C of E church in Hampshire
‘I feel the Church must be prophetic in managing its assets, its life and preaching, with addressing the climate and ecological crisis in a way that is real to our faith. We need to stand in solidarity with the suffering of the earth and people.’- Ben Buse, 36, Research Associate and a member of the Church of England
‘Fossil fuel companies are making excessive profits and are pressing on to open new oil and gas fields, in spite of clear warnings from the United Nations that there should be no new exploration. The Church has an opportunity to speak out on behalf of those experiencing fuel poverty and those already suffering and dying from climate change in the global south. This is impossible while they continue to profit from fossil fuel shares.’ – Val King, 62, Business Advisor
‘The fossil fuel economy we have all grown up with is what is driving climate change, ecocide, inequality and the obscene wealth that leads to corruption and repression in our society. All the churches must divest from this system and instead invest in that which gives life, otherwise how can they claim to represent the teachings of Jesus?’ – Stephen Jarvis, 66, retired plumber, teacher and designer
‘The Church has a mission, a sacred duty, to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and to seek to transform unjust structures of society. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels has a damaging effect on life on earth, on ecosystems and the climate, and also causes appalling injustice, in that those who are most affected by climate change are the least responsible. By investing in the fossil fuel industry, the Church is complicit with the system that causes climate change and the resulting damage to our planet. We are here to demand the Church of England divests from fossil fuel companies now.’ – Dave Mitchell, 61, Software Developer and Churchwarden of local C of E church
‘I am joining this action because the Church of England seriously needs to put their money where their mouth is in terms of declaring that we are in a climate emergency. The Church claims that caring for creation is part of our mission to the world (see five marks of mission) and yet, despite the fact that it’s been long proven that fossil fuels are damaging our world, it continues to invest and therefore participate in this destructive practice.’ – Phil Manning, training for ordained ministry at Trinity College.
‘I’m really worried about the future for my child and other people’s children. I think people don’t realise churches are still investing in companies that are destroying the planet and I want things to change before it’s too late.’ – Karen Grattage, mum of a toddler and Churchwarden, Bath and Well Diocese.
‘I fully uphold this Prayerful Action for opening hearts & minds to solutions for the imminent horrors of climate chaos. In our relative comfort we’re all complicit but look to the Church of England’s strong lead to choose responsibly for Renewable energy & NOT fossil fuels for their investments. It is increasingly clear that those Oil-Greedy leave the rest needy, and the unequal stuff of wealth divides us completely…. geographically, environmentally ,economically, culturally & socially. Beyond the science of climate change, at Glasgow’s COP I heard again & again the voices of young people world-wide describe their fear and anger at the giants of Shell and BP. How they in the Global South cannot protect their livelihoods from flood & drought. – Susie Fitzsimmons