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Keeping Vigil for the Earth

by Michael Ford last modified 12 Sep, 2020 09:46 PM

The Church season of Creationtide runs from from 1st September to 4th October, with a theme this year of 'Jubilee for the Earth'. There have been a number of parish initiatives in this Diocese, including services for Climate Sunday, and some are joining in with wider initiatives.

Keeping Vigil for the Earth

Photo by Mark Sharratt

At the start of September, the Revds Hilary Bond and Jonathan Herbert took part in a multi-faith prayer vigil to pray that our government acts quickly and radically to reverse the destruction of so much life on our planet and to highlight the issue of climate justice.

The night before the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill had its first reading, along with Revd Sue Parfitt they defied police threats of arrest and continued keeping vigil as ranks of officers cleared Parliament Square. For several hours they awaited arrest but the police left them alone until they completed their vigil at dawn.

Jonathan said:

“Maybe they left us alone because 3 people praying didn’t seem much of a threat to the state, but I believe that contemplative prayer linked to non-violent direct action is one of the most powerful and deeply subversive things that we can do to bring about real and meaningful change.”

Later on, they led a Creation-themed Stations of the Cross outside Euston Station where the HS2 train will leave London, amidst protestors - or as Hilary said, "perhaps they should be called earth protectors."

They were highlighting the 100s of ancient woodlands where trees are being being felled to make way for what many see now in the 'age of Zoom' as an unnecessary project.

On their return to the Diocese, both Hilary and Jonathan felt that one thing they had brought back from the vigil was the encouragement to hold on to hope in spite of the daily evidence of devastation of our planet.

Hilary said, “We met so many people of faith including former Archbishop Rowan Williams, protesting and believing in the power of prayer to make a difference, that we were mightily encouraged.

“Being part of the vigil furthered our sense that God in Christ is present in the suffering of our crucified earth and that somehow things will be redeemed if we work with Christ in the vital task of continuing to speak out and act for justice and against government inaction.”

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