Operation Noah (ON) the churches environmental charity, is launching an 'Oil Fast' as part of its “Exodus from carbon”, despite the ongoing commitment from several churches to seek to profit from the oil industry.
ON is calling on church communities to embark on their own journey - away from dependence on carbon towards the promised land of a Zero Carbon Britain by 2030. The Oil Fast on Sunday 3 October is being billed as the first step on that journey.
The Church of England and Methodist Church however, have some of their largest shareholdings in oil companies, worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
In its last annual report the Church of England's shareholding in BP was valued at £90.7 million, slightly higher than Royal Dutch Shell at £82.1 million. The Churches have repeatedly resisted calls to end their attempts to make money from fossil fuels.
Rev Chris Brice, Chair of Operation Noah said: “The BP disaster revealed the complicity of all, including Christians, in the desecration of the planet. Operation Noah’s ‘Carbon Exodus’ and Oil Fast on 3 October will help Christians abstain from oil, and bring faith, life and practice to bear directly on the urgent task of avoiding catastrophic climate change. The Christian faith has made a unique contribution to movements for social, political and economic renewal from the Anti-slavery campaign to Jubilee 2000. We can do so again.”
The Church of England recently apologised for its own historical involvement in the slave trade.
Churches across the UK are invited to participate. Churches around the country will hold their own 'Oil Fast' services. This is being billed as a day for action and reflection, for individual lifestyle changes and spiritual inspiration, rooted in the Christian belief that prayer and fasting can bring healing to even the most desperate of situations.
ON is calling on Christians to stop for a day and take stock of our joint and personal complicity in the ongoing drive to exploit ever more challenging and inaccessible oil reserves.
A range of materials: sample sermons, prayers, hymns and a comprehensive guide (with the latest science) for the ‘Oil Fast’ are available from Operation Noah: