Earth Day the Church Way: Consumption Sabbath

Christians in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, were invited to confess and repent of their consumptive habits on Earth Sunday, April 22, 2012.

Hundreds of people processed through the city's downtown, aided by a police escort to keep marchers safe. Hundreds more were picked up along the 3.4 km route, meeting at a tent erected in Memorial Park, across from the provincial legislative buildings, for a worship service. In a video, lead marchers bore a golden oil drum on their shoulders as they walked - a symbol of confession as well as complicity in the fossil fuel economy.

The service - presented in the old style of a revival tent meeting - gave worshippers the opportunity to repent of their consumptive habits and sign pledge cards promising an envirnoment friendly action, such as commuting to work by bicycle or riding public transit. A robed Consumption Sabbath Choir led the faithful in rousing, traditional gospel songs. Shouts of "Halleleujha," "Amen," and "Preach it!" could be heard from worshippers throughout the service.

The event, sponsored by Charleswood Mennonite Church and Geez Magazine, also involved numerous other congregations.