Mark writes from prison
As a registered charity, Green Christian cannot encourage law-breaking. However, some members of Green Christian are involved in civil disobedience. We hold each other in our prayers.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39
“God is good” says my cell mate in Thameside prison. “All the time” I respond, remembering that this was how we began the children’s service at my church in Liverpool. Certainly I feel strengthened and comforted by God. Romans 8:38-39 applies, and you can add SERCO to the list!
It’s faith that has brought me here for the offence of Public Nuisance. I sat in the road in the City of London in October 2021 along with many others, supporting Insulate Britain, and standing up against (by sitting down!) the scandal of cold, damp, uninsulated homes and thousands of premature deaths. Insulating social housing would be an easy win to cut the emissions that are killing us. At my sentencing I told the judge that it was my duty and my joy to follow my Lord’s command and love my neighbour. I had a higher law, you could say.
I look out of my cell window at the walls of another prison, a court and a young offenders institution. It’s a bleak vista. But as I pray I remember the communities of which I am part which sustain me. There is joy in resistance and a deep peace. As prayer and Bible help me in my cell, I give thanks for Green Christian, Christian Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil where I find such encouragement. Thank you friends, from the bottom of my heart.
Scripture is a rock, feeding my heart. At this time when we need to find our courage and get involved in actions which were previously unthinkable, we need, I suggest, to pray from an imagined bleak place, a sort of desert. The big vision of the Bible and the awful reality of rising temperatures cry out to our comfortable, complicit church and invite us to give ourselves in service.
After The Big One it is clear that more of us need to step up into bold, loving action to resist the fatalism and greed expressed in the licensing of new oil, gas and coal projects. Together we know we can do something beautiful for God. There is a next step for you – it does not need to be prison! “God is good” says my cell mate. He is right – we do not need to fear. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. I pray we may know the joy of resisting and together stop new oil, gas and coal and that no one dies in cold homes.
Green Christian member, Revd Mark Coleman, was jailed for five weeks for public nuisance after telling a court he planned to continue in civil resistance until the government decarbonises the UK housing stock and halts new oil and gas developments. Mark wrote this letter to fellow Green Christian members from his prison cell.
Comments on "Mark writes from prison"
Revd Kate Gray:
The witness you give for people who are most marginalised in the UK is inspirational. So many people cannot pay their gas and electric bills in Wythenshawe. When you pray with your body like this it tells us here in Wythenshawe that we matter. Thankyou. Kate The Dandelion Community The United Reformed Church
Mark is a prophet to our times. I am pleased and honoured to pray for him and call him a friend.
Like others, I am privileged to count Mark - and his so supportive wife Wendy - as good friends. We are proud of you Mark. Thank you for your eloquence and your actions. Nicholas
Markyou are an inspiration. Every blessing on you
I'm sure that will be fine, John!
Thanks for this Mark. I hope it is OK to quote some bits from you in the June copy of our Church Magazine! Every blessing!
A privilege to know Mark. He is a prophet and an inspiration. Thank you for everything you do Mark.
Mark puts me to shame for all he does, and I do so little. He is an example to us all, and should never have been sent to prison. Instead, he should receive a medal, although I know that's not what he wants. I wish him all the strength to carry on. Xx
Mark Coleman is a brave and courageous man who has stood up to be counted in the Climate crisis. He should not be in prison for speaking truth to power. I can only stand in admiration of his commitment and dedication. I look forward to seeing him after he is released.