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Christian Aid’s Young Activists Demand Better from UK Government

Published on 7 October 2020

Written by David Paterson

In early 2020, Christian Aid launched the Prophetic Activist initiative – an annual, year-long campaigning scheme for 18-30 year olds of all backgrounds and denominations, exploring the relationship between faith and action for global social justice. Inspired by skills workshops, webinars with leading activists and their own diverse experiences, the Prophetic Activists are asking you to sign their petition and call on the UK Government to Stop Fuelling the Fire.

Back in February, the wind and rain of Storm Dennis didn’t dampen the spirits of 23 passionate young adults, including 7 based in Scotland, as they met together for the first-ever activists’ residential. During an intensive weekend of workshops, discussions and team-building, the Prophetic Activists challenged themselves to put their faith into action for global social justice. With the support of Christian Aid’s Youth and Campaigns teams, the group shared insights from their own experiences as they explored issues of gender inequality, poverty and climate justice, and learned how to grow their campaign movements.

Prophetic Activists residential weekend

While Covid-19 halted plans for a second residential weekend, the Prophetic Activists continued to meet regularly online for campaign meetings, skills webinars, and to hear from inspiring activists such as Amika George (Free Periods) and Mikaela Loach (The Yikes Podcast). Through these events, the strength of the group’s concern about the global climate crisis became clear. As Gourock-based Prophetic Activist, Seonaid Knox, says, “Climate activism is a central part of how I live and act out my faith. It’s something I’ve grown increasing involved in over the past few years as I’ve learned more about climate justice and how this intersects with gender and racial justice. As a Christian, I also think of Jesus as one of the first social justice campaigners, which is why I’m so passionate about these issues.”

“Climate activism is a central part of how I live and act out my faith. It’s something I’ve grown increasing involved in over the past few years as I’ve learned more about climate justice and how this intersects with gender and racial justice. As a Christian, I also think of Jesus as one of the first social justice campaigners, which is why I’m so passionate about these issues.”

- Seonaid Knox

Determined to address the climate emergency, the Prophetic Activists developed, created and launched the “Stop Fuelling The Fire” campaign. This initiative calls on the UK Government to end the use of UK Export Finance to fund fossil fuel extraction overseas, a practice which has increased significantly in recent years. From homes across the country, the Prophetic Activists have lobbied MPs, raised awareness of the issue through media, and asked members of the public to sign their petition - which now has over 600 signatures. If you haven’t already done so, the Prophetic Activists invite you to add your voice to their call for climate justice.

While 2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for everyone, the Prophetic Activists have found community and solidarity in working together for global social justice. Robin Downie of Lochcarron says, “When Christian Aid advertised this unique opportunity to get young people involved I was keen to take part. The opportunity has opened my eyes to new ways of campaigning while allowing me to meet and work with Christians from across the country. For me I have learnt the need to make a difference and challenge the government to do more. As a Christian I believe it is our responsibility to look after the kingdom we live in while challenging social injustice in our society.”

 “When Christian Aid advertised this unique opportunity to get young people involved I was keen to take part. The opportunity has opened my eyes to new ways of campaigning while allowing me to meet and work with Christians from across the country. For me I have learnt the need to make a difference and challenge the government to do more. As a Christian I believe it is our responsibility to look after the kingdom we live in while challenging social injustice in our society.”

- Robin Downie

If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the Prophetic Activists in 2021, please contact David Paterson (drpaterson@christian-aid.org) for more information.