The Christian 'Arrestables' for Climate Justice | Sojourners


The Christian 'Arrestables' for Climate Justice

Photos of faith leaders offering sanctuary, civil disobedience during London’s Extinction Rebellion

By Sean Hawkey  04-22-2019

Christians are stepping up to show their leadership on climate action in London this week during the Extinction Rebellion protests that have occupied four key positions in central London over the past week. The Extinction Rebellion has three stated demands of the United Kingdom government: declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and "create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.” In the collective nonviolent efforts to achieve these goals, over 950 have been arrested.

Sue Parfitt, 77, an Anglican priest, chained herself under a lorry at Marble Arch on Monday to stop traffic during the protests. She was arrested Thursday underneath the Berta Cáceres protest boat at Oxford Circus.

The "arrestables," the hundreds who have pledged willingness to be arrested, write legal assistance numbers on their skin to call should the police take them to jail.

John Clements, a lay preacher from Oxford, is responsible for the Walk of Witness and prayer services in Oxford. "Christians should all be worried about the destruction of God's creation. We need to be good stewards," Clements said. "I have been willing to be arrested. We need to be willing to make sacrifices to make the point... We all need to work to unite all churches — to commit to deal more actively with the climate change crisis."

Giles Goddard is the vicar of St John's, Waterloo. He has opened up the church facilities for protesters to rest and recharge. "All the major faiths have care for the creation at the heart of what they hold dear. Now, more than ever, it is extremely urgent that we take action for the care of creation that we have responsibility for."

At dawn on Easter Sunday, the crypt of St. John's was full of protesters sleeping after their release from jail.

Sean Hawkey is a photographer and journalist in the UK. View more of his work here.