A huge thank you to everyone who came to London over the weekend to resist, share, protest, debate, create, pray and make connections! Now it’s time for rest, debriefing and sharing feedback together – but not for long. Actions are planned for next month, so get connected with your local or regional group – and watch this space for further announcements! Meanwhile, here’s what we got up to …
On Friday about 50 people from CCA joined thousands gathered in Trafalgar Square and marched down Whitehall to tell the Government WE CAN’T AFFORD THIS ANYMORE. We brought energy bills and burnt them in in front of the gates leading to 10 Downing Street in protest at the linked climate and cost of living crises and we occupied the road where we were inspired by speakers and XR Rhythms of Resistance drummers. In the midst of the protest we held a communion service in the street, reaffirming our commitment to being part of the body of Christ that includes those who are on the front line of the climate crisis as well as those who are left unable to pay their energy bills this winter. Ben Buse, a scientist from Bristol, explained that he came because the Government is pursuing oil and gas which is perplexing when insulation and renewables are a way to reduce bills and address carbon emissions. “The government seems intent on heading in the wrong direction to the sole benefit of oil and gas corporations. Now is the time for the Church to speak out following the example of conservation charities, too much is at stake to remain silent” he added.
Saturday saw us out in force doing outreach and engaging with the public alongside other Extinction Rebellion groups. Our teams at Westminster Catholic Cathedral where Helen Elwes’ painting Mother of Mercy was our focal point, and the Anglican Westminster Abbey and Southwark Cathedral and outside the Tate Modern art gallery on the South Bank talked to people about climate crisis and handed out more than 600 of our leaflets and prayers cards. Those that still had energy in the evening, joined protesters from across the UK to Cover the Capital, replacing thousands of London tube and bus stop ads with eye catching posters designed to make commuters think about what is happening to our planet and inspire action.
Then on Sunday we gathered in Hyde Park to pray and to support XR Youth who created the RECLAIM OUR FUTURE protest to share our hopes for and envision the future they want us to create. Led by young people we marched to Parliament Square where they planted an oak sapling – a descendant of Kett’s Oak (associated with the 1549 Kett’s Rebellion). The little tree has become a symbol of their resistance that remains planted in the middle of the Square forcing London’s Mayor to confront a decision whether he will act to uproot their hopes or whether to act to protect and nurture them.