Arrest of The Rev Bill White Photo credit: Christian Climate Action

MEMBERS of Christian Climate Action, including two members of the clergy, have called on Wimbledon tennis tournament to drop Barclays as a sponsor. Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels in Europe.

Christian Climate Action (CCA) has been working alongside other groups, such as Make My Money Matter and Fossil Free London, petitioning tournament goers outside Wimbledon this week. They have been handing out flyers to individuals in the queue to enter the venue, and putting up posters in the surrounding area.

Members of Christian Climate Action who were putting up posters were approached by police, who refused to let them to continue. Holly-Anna Petersen said: “We’ve been followed by police all day and told that we’re not allowed to put up posters. We only have a few years left until climate collapse is irreversible and Wimbledon has chosen as its sponsor the bank which is the biggest fossil fuel bankroller in Europe. If you won’t let people put up simple posters, then you’re forcing them to take more drastic and disruptive action to get the issue heard.”

The Rev Helen Burnett who helped bring a huge dodo art installation to Wimbledon this week said: “This rather ludicrous giant pink dodo is here to highlight the ludicrous folly of human behaviour! We are hurtling eyes wide open towards a catastrophe. The eradication of the dodo was not a massive global event like the one we face, but it was a human made extinction. Today we are looking into an abyss in which millions of species and millions of people will die.”

Multiple Christians, including two clerics, have also been arrested recently in London for taking part in the ‘slow marches’, organised by Just Stop Oil, which involve clusters of people walking slowly down the road in London. The Rev Bill White, retired Anglicam priest, was arrested three times across three consecutive days last week – returning to the streets when he left the police station each day.

Bill White explained why he decided to take part in the action: “As a Christian I am frequently reminded of the command to love my neighbour as myself. In obedience to this I am called to sound the alarm about the climate crisis; but always in a way which is nonviolent, consistent with the teaching and example of Jesus. Christian teaching encourages respect for authority that is in line with God’s will, but resistance to those in conflict with this higher law of love. The authorities are failing us by turning off the climate alarm, rather than addressing the problem that triggered it. So, to be faithful I need to say no to the police officers when they ask me to stop, and keep on walking. I know that I will be arrested and taken into police custody.”

On 10, July The Rev Sue Parfitt and Ruth Jarman were also arrested. Their presence in London was a breach of their bail conditions for previous climate protests. Before her arrest Jarman explained: “Last week we had the hottest global average temperature since records began and it barely made it into the news. Society seems set on sleep-walking over a cliff and our government is pushing us full steam ahead. As a mother I’m determined to do everything I can to stop the climate suffering ahead of our young people”.

Sue Parfitt added: “We’ve all been forced between a rock and a hard place, either we allow climate collapse to happen or we take the risks that come with standing against it with all our might. I chose the latter which has led me here today”.

* Source: Christian Climate Action