A PRAYER VIGIL was held at Greenbelt Festival, as campaigners called for all charities present to stop banking with Barclays, the biggest funder of fossil fuels in Europe. This follows a similar vigil outside Christian Aid, which led to that charity recently closing its Barclays account.

The vigil, held on Saturday 26 August, was part of a series of vigils taking place in the coming months at charities that bank with Barclays. Christian organisations that currently hold a Barclays bank account include World Vision, BMS World Mission, Tearfund, Leprosy Mission, SIM International and CAFOD.

The vigil was organised by Christian Climate Action and was attended by festival goers and festival contributors. The vigil involved prayer, singing and time where young people explained their fears on the climate crisis. The group held up signs such as “Praying for charities to stop banking with Barclays, who fund climate chaos”.

Following previous pressure, Greenbelt Festival itself has expressed intent to drop Barclays bank in the coming months, and so the vigil was also praying for the Greenbelt team as they proceed with this process.

Unlike other banks, Barclays refuses to cease its funding of new fossil fuel projects. In 2021, the International Energy Agency said that exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating.

Holly-Anna Petersen from Sheffield, who was one of those at the vigil, said: “If we donate to a charity that banks with Barclays, our money is channelled into fossil fuel expansion. When a charity chooses Barclays, this also gives Barclays social licence and political influence, as it is presenting itself as a bank associated with positive causes – instead of one which is bankrolling climate collapse.

“In this critical time for life on our planet, it is important that charities put their money where their mouth is. If they are declaring their positive impact, they need to move away from this destructive bank.”

The next vigil in the series is praying for Tearfund. Christian Climate Action is holding a vigil outside the Emmanuel Centre in London, where Tearfund will be on Friday 7 September.

* Source: Christian Climate Action