Green Tau: issue 65

6th March 2023

In the last Green Tau I wrote about Ash Wednesday and penance: ‘Maybe our penance – the penance for those who see the harm we have as humans have caused – is raise the cry, to sound the alarm, to be prophetic, so that others too can be called to account.’

Yesterday across the UK, Christian Climate Action held a day of action in which Christians around the country visited their local cathedral (Church of England and Catholic) to either thank their diocese for making a fossil fuel divestment commitment or ask them to do so as a matter of urgency.

I joined one such group attending the service at Southwark Cathedral. At the notices, at the end of the service, I got up and knelt on the dais steps and began to cut of my hair. (My son then took over the cutting). At the same time my husband went to the lectern where the sub Dean who was presiding at the service allowed him to read out a statement explaining the action (see below). Meanwhile others from Christian Climate Action stood on the dais with a long  banner that read:  “C of E Divest Now from Fossil Fuels.” When Paul finished the congregation applauded. We all walked to back of the cathedral whilst the sub Dean called for a time of silent prayer before giving the remaining notices. 

“Today Christian Climate Action is calling upon Southwark diocese to rid itself of all investments that finance the fossil fuel industry and its destructive activities, and instead to make investments which will safeguard the environment and benefit our neighbours.

As a member of Southwark diocese, Judith is cutting off her hair today as a sign of penitence, in this season of Lent. With grief and alarm Christian Climate Action members accept that we have been complicit in both causing the climate crisis and in benefitting financially from the profits of the fossil fuel industries. We have between us unsustainably eaten meat, driven petrol cars, taken air flights, and used gas central heating. We have variously had mortgages, received home insurance payouts and received pensions, all financed in part by fossil fuel investments.

And we repent. All our actions have contributed to the deep and widespread damage being caused to God’s creation. We have failed to love our neighbour – both here in London and as far away as the island of Vanuatu in the Pacific. We have failed to tend and care for the earth – the one role God gave us in the Garden of Eden.

Yet we believe God does not turn away from us. Rather God invites us to try again. Thank you for listening to this addition to today’s notices. We would be happy to meet and discuss further our urgent call for divestment from fossil fuels, both with the Bishops of Southwark and with other members of the diocese.”

Afterwards talking with the sub Dean, the  Revd Canon Michael Rawson