Bill, Zane, Tim, Catherine, Janette and Ruth have taken direct action to protect the salmon-bearing Brunette River from the devastating impacts of the Trans Mountain Pipeline -in trees, on the ground, and praying in the path of heavy equipment on unceded Coast Salish Territory. Tim, Zane and Bill are in court this week, Janette, Ruth and Catherine members of the Prayer Circle direct action group were sentenced to 14 days have asked us to pray with them. Catherine will spend her 80th birthday in jail.
From February 14th to 27th, at 7a.m., 12noon, and/or 7p.m., for 30 minutes, as you are able, we ask that you hold us in your prayers, but most importantly, we ask that you pray for the suffering being caused by climate change. This is happening now. We ARE in a climate emergency. Let’s act like it and have governments take actions too. Our ‘business as usual’ stance and addiction to fossil fuels is destroying God’s beautiful creation, causing hardships and displacement around the world and here in BC too. Please also imagine the good and what life and our world can be like, and pray for this, and start living with love and care for God’s creation. Amen.
In the February sun, under an old cedar tree beside a massive industrial facility, a circle of twenty bundled figures sat in a silence broken by the occasional bird call (varied thrush, chickadee, flicker) or word of prayer. The prayer circle, begun in a Quaker tradition, has been meeting mostly by Kwekwecnewtxw the Watch House near the Trans Mountain tank facility on Burnaby Mountain. This week our prayer had a special focus and urgency as three of our members will appear in court on Monday morning and expect to be in jail that evening. Sometimes when the circle meets to pray it is also an act of protection for this sacred land and solidarity with Indigenous land and water protectors, we pray in front of heavy equipment or at the foot of trees slated for removal.
Our circle held Ruth, Janette and Catherine at the centre as we blessed them and prayed that they would be strengthened by their connection to the water, the mountain, the cedars and community. And that they would have Saint Valentine’s fierce love in the face of death.
It is a powerful thing that our friends appear in court on February 14, a day when for 30 years families and supporters have gathered to honour and remember missing and murdered mostly Indigenous women and Two Spirit persons in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Violence against Indigenous women is deeply tied to extraction of resources from the land. The commercial celebration of Valentine’s Day is about romantic love, but the tradition comes from the letters Valentine wrote from jail before he was executed by the Roman emperor for performing marriages that allowed young men to escape military conscription.
So love and land, jail and empire, small attempts at solidarity, and hopeful action in the face of deathly institutions are how we pray.
Court support, prayers and ceremony: 9 am Feb 14 at Nelson and Hornby.
Women’s Memorial March: 12 noon Feb 14 at Main and Hastings.
Next Prayer Circle: Saturday March 12, 10:30 AM Kwekwecnewtxw Watch House, Burnaby Mountain