Interviews available on request
On Friday 26th January, Christians, including members of the clergy held a vigil outside of BMS World Mission HQ in Didcot, Oxfordshire – praying for the charity to drop Barclays as it’s bank.
The campaigners were because Barclays is the biggest funder of fossil fuels in Europe since 2016. The bank also continues to fund fossil fuel expansion projects, despite the International Energy Agency saying that exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating.
Around 14 people attended the vigil, organised by Christian Climate Action. The group were also joined by BMS World Mission members of staff, who came out of the office to participate. The group prayed for BMS World Mission as they consider their banking arrangements with Barclays going forward. They sang Taizé chants and held periods of silence. There were also signs reading messages, including “drop Barclays, the dirty bank, who fund climate chaos”.
A number of Christian organisations have already pledged to drop Barclays, due to their fossil fuels record, including Christian Aid, Greenbelt Festival and Sheffield Cathedral.
James Grote has been a Baptist minister for over 40 years, including working overseas with BMS World Mission. James was present at the vigil and explains why he decided to take part: “The climate emergency demands that we all examine and change how we use our resources and live more justly. We all need to do it, including organisations that we love and cherish and that’s why I was outside the offices of BMS World Mission asking them to switch from banking with Barclays. It won’t bust the bank, but they will take notice and it’s another small step towards cutting the influence of fossil fuel companies which are destroying the life of the planet that God has given us to love and to cherish.”
Mark Francis, is a member of Trafalgar Road Baptist Church, Horsham, who attended the vigil. He said:
When a charity chooses Barclays, this gives the bank 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. Barclays can then use this reputation to secure fossil fuel expansion deals. In this critical time for life on our planet, it is important that the Baptist Missionary Society speaks out against Barclays and makes it known that it will not use a bank which is funding such destruction.