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Home  >  Features  >  Youth Column: Stop Fuelling the Fire

Features

The Christian Aid Prophetic Activists pre-lockdown, including Kirsten Clarke (front, third from left).
The Christian Aid Prophetic Activists pre-lockdown, including Kirsten Clarke (front, third from left).

Youth Column: Stop Fuelling the Fire

Monday November 9

Kirsten Clarke describes her year as one of Christian Aid's Prophetic Activists


Growing up in the Church of Scotland, I have come to believe passionately that as Christians we are called to protect God’s creation, both ecologically and socially.

When I received an email about Christian Aid’s ‘Prophetic Activist’ scheme late last year, I was immediately intrigued by the prospect of combining the pursuit of social justice with learning more about my faith from a charity with a 75-year history of fi ghting global injustice.

I’ve not been disappointed. I am one of 25 Prophetic Activists from across the UK, from diverse Christian backgrounds, including multiple who are members of the Church of Scotland. We are all connected by the fact that we are passionate about faith and its relationship to justice. We held a residential in February to launch our scheme and since then have set up a campaign called ‘Stop Fuelling The Fire’ focussing on calling the UK Government to stop using export finance to fund the extraction of fossil fuels overseas.

The UK Government is currently using taxpayers’ money to fund projects and companies extracting oil and gas in countries across the Global South, particularly in Africa. Billions of pounds are invested in projects which are harmful to both the environment and local communities. It is clear that the people who contribute least to climate change and our warming planet suffer its consequences most severely. This injustice must be tackled and the UK Government’s role must be held to account.

Christian Aid is an international development organisation that works with people of all faiths and none, to support communities to lift themselves out of poverty, and I believe our campaign to stop the UK funding overseas fossil fuel extraction is a key part of this work. The Bible tells us “Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17).

Of course, Covid-19 has led us to adjust our plans. The second residential, planned for July, was forced online and plans for protests surrounding the UN’s climate conference COP26, which had been scheduled to be held in Glasgow in November, have been put on hold.

I have taken some time to reflect on these developments recently and despite my frustration, I can see that God has still worked through the heart of our campaign. Although we have been led down a different path than we expected, we are still carrying out His work. We have had opportunities to hear from inspiring speakers in online webinars which we may not have had before and thanks to the wonders of technology, we have managed to launch a petition which has attracted hundreds of signatures and is still growing.

Christian Aid is a fantastic organisation through which to pursue God’s work and has inspired me from a young age. Being part of this scheme has shown me just how hard they work in their campaigning, awareness raising and work on the ground in many countries in the Global South.

Christian Aid will soon be looking for Prophetic Activists for 2021, so if you are aged 18-30, would like to meet likeminded young people and pursue Biblical justice with a group of truly inspiring mentors and collaborators, you can contact David Paterson, Christian Aid Scotland’s Youth Development Co-ordinator at drpaterson@christian-aid.org  I really could not recommend it more!

Please consider adding your name to our petition by going to: you.38degrees.org.uk/p/SFTF You can also ‘Like’ our Facebook page “Stop Fuelling the Fire” and follow us on Twitter: @PA_SFTF to keep updated with what we are doing!


If you are under 30 with a connection to the Church of Scotland, and would be interested in writing for this page, please email magazine@lifeandwork.org