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Mary, Mother of the Universe, joins Climate Strike in Barrington



The Climate Strike, said Pastor Brendan Curran, “is a good reminder that when we stand together against the moneyed powers and the death dealing industries like the fossil fuel industry, when we stand up together and unite with love and compassion, we can bring them to a standstill.”

A small group of people stood outside the Barrington Congregational Church Friday morning holding signs and erecting an 11-foot tall puppet of Mary, holding an infant Jesus. Mary also held a sign, reading “Mom on Strike for the Future!” The sign event was coordinated with rush hour traffic for maximum impact.

I spoke with Brendan Curran, the Associate Minister at Barrington Congregational Church and a Pastor with the United Church of Christ.

“There is a global Climate Strike that was organized by youth climate justice organizers,” said Curran. “Here in the United States I know that the strike is demanding that the Green New Deal be passed. To my understanding, the Green New Deal was inspired by indigenous resistance at Standing Rock in dialog with global climate justice organizers… The Green New Deal represents the policies and changes that would need to be implemented to ensure that the planet remains livable for our future.

Andrea Bullard, Amanda Colby, Brendan Curran and Helen Schall

“So I can think of no greater moral dilemma than acting or not acting on Climate Change. In responding to that moral dilemma, the United Church of Christ became the first Christian denomination or body to endorse the Green New Deal. The United Church of Christ also officially joined the Climate Strike, and church offices throughout southern New England are encourage to be closed today in support of the strike so we’re out here with our signs making the strike visible as much as we can.”

“Here we have Mary, Jesus’ mom, the Mother of the Universe, all of our mother, and she’s on strike too,” said Curran, referring to the puppet.

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“She’s our other mother,” said Andrea Bullard, who had come out this morning to hold a sign.

“There’s Mother Earth and Mother Mary,” clarified another person.

“She can be both to us all, today,” suggested Curran. “We should know that Mary’s name, in the Hebrew, means ‘rebellion.’ So Christ is the child of Rebellion and Mary is the mother of Resistance against oppression and injustice.

“This puppet was built with the help of my friend Maryann Colella, who’s a puppeteer with the Bread and Puppet Theatre company. I helped, but Maryann was really responsible for this beauty.” Inside the puppet was Curran’s future husband, Daniel.

“I’m doing this because there are still folks out there that just don’t get it,” said Bullard. “I’ve been pro-Earth, if you will, ever since I was younger than Amanda. When I was 10 years-old I had a backpack that said ‘Pollution Solution.’ I think it’s really important for my children to see me standing up for what’s important.”

Also holding a sign was Amanda Colby, a senior at Barrington High School. Colby was not taking the day out of school, she intended to attend classes, so this was her best chance to participate in the Climate Strike.

“I have to live in this world, probably longer than the other people here, hopefully, sorry,” said Colby. “I saw a statistic recently. It’s approximately 11 years before there’s no turning back. So if what we do today will prevent that, even for a little longer, that’s good. We can fight longer. I also saw an interesting quote: We’re not going to kill the Earth. The Earth is going to kill us.”

“We’re here to support the kids who are causing such a movement,” said Helen Schall, also holding a sign. “It’s their future and we’re not doing anything about it.”

The Climate Strike, said Curran, “is a good reminder that when we stand together against the moneyed powers and the death dealing industries like the fossil fuel industry, when we stand up together and unite with love and compassion, we can bring them to a standstill.”

Barrington Congregational Church

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.