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Frustrated not Insulated as Diocese condemns climate action clergy

by Donna Birrell

The Diocese of Oxford has condemned the actions of some clergy taking part in protests over climate change, saying they have 'frustrated many people.'

In a statement issued to Premier, the Diocese says it has sympathy with the intention behind the protests, but not the nature.

Over the last few days, several protests by climate activists have brought the M25 to a standstill. The Government this week persuaded the High Court to issue an injunction, threatening M25 protesters with jail if they cause further disruption.

Many of the group, organised by Insulate Britain, have now moved on to block the port of Dover, Europe's busiest ferry terminus.

One of the M25 activists is a retired priest from the Diocese of Oxford, Rev Tim Hewes. The 71 year old also made headlines in the summer by sewing up his lips in protest at what he called the 'muting' of climate science.

He was also reportedly arrested at the Pink Table protests in London last month, which were organised by Extinction Rebellion.

The Diocese says his actions and those of others, while 'arguably well intentioned, frustrated many people'.

The statement reads:

"The world continues to experience the daily impact of rapid climate change. Society has a tiny window to make lifestyle changes and take crucial action on climate change that will affect the life of the entire planet and future generations. The actions of Revd Hewes and others, while arguably well intentioned, have frustrated many people and we're unclear how the actions have been productive in encouraging the urgent change required. Legitimate protest can play an important part in national debate and decision making, but the actions of Insulate Britain in recent days aren't helping. Responding constructively to the current emergency is the responsibility of every family, every workplace, every village, town and city, every company, and every public institution. We all need to work together." 

Other retired clergy involved in the M25 climate action protests include 79 year old Rev Sue Parfitt from Bristol and 62 year old Rev Mark Coleman, a former borough Dean of Rochdale. 

A Roman Catholic priest, 54 year old Father Martin Newell was also among the M25 protestors.  


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