Rev Mark Coleman writes from Prison

This blog was written by Rev Mark Coleman, who is currently in Thameside prison. He was arrested for his part in a climate protest. The blog was written for Green Christian.

“God is good” says my cell mate in Thameside prison. “All the time” I respond, remembering that this was how we began the children’s service at my church in Liverpool. Certainly I feel strengthened and comforted by God. Romans 8:38-39 applies, and you can add SERCO to the list!

It’s faith that has brought me here for the offence of Public Nuisance. I sat in the road in the City of London in October 2021 along with many others, supporting Insulate Britain, and standing up against (by sitting down!) the scandal of cold, damp, uninsulated homes and thousands of premature deaths. Insulating social housing would be an easy win to cut the emissions that are killing us. At my sentencing I told the judge that it was my duty and my joy to follow my Lord’s command and love my neighbour. I had a higher law, you could say.

I look out of my cell window at the walls of another prison, a court and a young offenders institution. It’s a bleak vista. But as I pray I remember the communities of which I am part which sustain me. There is joy in resistance and a deep peace. As prayer and Bible help me in my cell, I give thanks for Green Christian, Christian Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil where I find such encouragement. Thank you friends, from the bottom of my heart.

Scripture is a rock, feeding my heart. At this time when we need to find our courage and get involved in actions which were previously unthinkable, we need, I suggest, to pray from an imagined bleak place, a sort of desert. The big vision of the Bible and the awful reality of rising temperatures cry out to our comfortable, complicit church and invite us to give ourselves in service.

After The Big One it is clear that more of us need to step up into bold, loving action to resist the fatalism and greed expressed in the licensing of new oil, gas and coal projects. Together we know we can do something beautiful for God. There is a next step for you – it does not need to be prison! “God is good” says my cell mate. He is right – we do not need to fear. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. I pray we may know the joy of resisting and together stop new oil, gas and coal and that no one dies in cold homes.