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Quaker Pray-In at Brayton Point

A group of about 20 people - mostly Friends (Quakers) from The Religious Society of Friends in Cambridge - gathered for worship at the gate to the Brayton Point Electric Plant in Somerset, MA on Saturday afternoon, December 6.   Despite a cold drizzle, they remained seated in their circle at the gates of the facility on Brayton Road, currently being sold to Dynergy by Energy Capitol Partners.  In Quaker terminology, they were giving “witness” to the global climate disruption that science has shown to be largely caused by burning fossil fuel.  They were calling attention to the prediction that – without massive action - Earth’s temperature will likely rise another 4 to 6 degrees Celsius and cause unimaginably horrific global calamity. 

A printed statement explained their purpose:
Consistent with our spiritual leadings, we are compelled to act and “witness to” the excessive burning of fossil fuels that are despoiling the earth and its atmosphere. Brayton Point and other fossil fuel plants have had cumulatively devastating effects on all Creation; we believe it is immoral to stand by while climate disruption causes harrowing havoc worldwide.”
 
Members of the group held signs saying “STOP BURNING FOSSIL FUELS NOW” as they worshipped. The cold and rain did not dissuade them from several hours of prayerful ‘witness’. Though several were willing to be arrested for trespassing, the local police and Brayton representatives allowed the witness to proceed on their private land. This was the same day that other Quaker members of EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team) from Florida to Pennsylvania (and in about 6 other states) witnessed in protest to the Appalachian mountaintop removal currently financed by the PNC Bank. 
                                                            
One of the Cambridge Quakers, Minga Claggett-Borne commented: “We want to act on local issues that also speak to global problems. Praying on the power plant’s property is illegal.  Knowing this, I and others feel a higher calling-that addressing the devastation of coal plants is a matter of necessity. God is asking us to take risks and move out of our comfort zone. I can’t stand by watching carbon emissions destroy our biosphere.”
 
Several of the group proceeded to the Fall River Courthouse, where they continued the “witness” by holding the "Stop Burning Fossile Fuels NOW" sign and passing out information leaflets as the vibrant and well-attended Fall River Christmas parade went down Main St.  The courthouse was the scene of the September “Lobster Boat” non-trial, where the District Attorney, Sam Sutter, declined to proceed with action against two lobster boating demonstrators, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward. Afloat, and as a non-violent act of conscience, they detained a barge from delivering 40,000 tons of coal to the Brayton Point generator. O’Hara is a Quaker from Falmouth, MA, and both he and Ward joined the witness today.
 
The Cambridge Quakers are moved to persist in prayerful actions of this sort in Eastern Massachusetts. For several hundred years Quakers have had a tradition of non-violent, public witnessing of concerns that rouse their inner moral outrage. In this era, they regard the heedless despoliation of Creation as profoundly immoral.  

 

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