URC joins thousands at The Time Is Now mass climate action lobby

URC Time is Now banner picUnited Reformed Church (URC) staff from across the denomination joined thousands of people at ‘The Time Is Now’ mass lobby against climate change in Westminster on Wednesday (26 June).

The group gathered at St Martin-in-the-Field in London’s Trafalgar Square, to join URC General Secretary, the Revd John Proctor, and other multi-faith leaders, ahead of a march towards parliament.

Before the walk took place, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, addressed the gathered crowd saying: ‘As we walk this morning let me urge you to keep in mind some individual faces; the individual faces of those in parts of the world who face the most immediate threat from climate change. People who have seen their habitat and livelihood wrecked by global warming.

‘Those who are driven off their land in the Amazon by extractive industries and other companies, those who find it harder to see hope. We stand with them and keep their faces and their lives in mind. Because our faith is nothing if it’s not about particular people and particular faces, our brothers and sisters, our children and grandchildren.’

Multi-faith leaders then led the ‘Walk of Witness’ from the National Gallery down Whitehall towards parliament, joined by thousands of others including schoolchildren who chanted: ‘Climate change is not a lie. Do not let our planet die.’

As the URC contingent arrived in Westminster, they were approached by a TV crew who queried what the group hoped to achieve.

The Revd Alex Mabbs, Minister of Brightelm URC and Community Centre, in Brighton, answered: ‘Some faster action on behalf of the government. They’re moving in the right direction, but we feel it’s too slow. And to help us all make the changes that are needed to save the planet.’

Francis Brienen, URC Deputy General Secretary (Mission) spoke about how uplifting she found the event.

‘It was tremendously inspiring to join people of all faiths for The Time Is Now mass lobby of parliament,’ she said. ‘We all care about God’s earth and all who share it. I am particularly grateful to the many young people who have led the way in this. I hope that today will show our MPs that climate justice cannot be delayed – the time to act is now. Our future depends on it.’

The Revd Dr Kevin Snyman, the URC’s Commitment for Life Coordinator, who also took part added: ‘Climate catastrophe is too calm a phrase to describe the emergency facing the planet. Our profound obligation is to act now on behalf of the most vulnerable people and ecosystems, particularly in the global south, such as our Commitment for Life partners in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.’ 

Simeon Mitchell, URC Secretary for Church and Society, spoke about how proud he was to be part of the event.

‘It was brilliant to see so many people gathering in Westminster to demand climate change be given a much higher political priority, and to be part of a group of URC members and staff at the event,’ he said. ‘The message to political leaders was loud and clear: it’s time for more urgent action on climate change.’

Have a look at a gallery of photos from the day here.

Published 26 June 2019