(Photo above of Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir. Image credit Immo Klink)
Brigitta Brown and Ben Cronkshanklingly met up with Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir when they stopped in Liverpool on their way singing and preaching to the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
The Earth is in pain.
We cut ourselves off from communicating with the Earth.
Listen to the Earth.
Be strange. Be creative.
On November 10th, 2021, Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir made a stop in Liverpool as they were singing and preaching their way to the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
A few members of the choir visited us beforehand at Next To Nowhere, we told them about our work here, we connected over activism and felt energized by the community we experienced. They loved the place!
Later the same day, the group led by Reverend Billy celebrated an Earth Service in the Capstone Theatre together with a receptive audience (or, congregation?)
We shared our visions and experiences, everyone in the room was invited to participate.
We heard that we can learn new things if we try on other people’s opinions, even more so when they are not our own. And we experienced that we can amplify our voices by speaking up together.
Death is part of life.
Are you willing to put your life on the line to save yourself, your children your loved ones?
Death is part of life.
We are sold the illusion of extending life forever. Stop shopping!
The choir led through the experience with powerful tunes and rhythms, they set the mood for Rev Billy’s narration, they united everyone with the power of music and dance, reminding us that activism includes joy and creativity.
A bunch of wonderful individuals, and we were lucky to spend some time with them in a pub afterwards, with good conversation and more singing. We feel we found friends and allies.
After the show, we got a chance to chat with Reverend Billy. Here’s what he said :-
“Hi, I’m Reverend Billy from the Church of Stopshopping, and we just concluded an Earth Service here at the Capstone Theatre, and I hear we have a couple of sinners here sitting on the bench, amen (laughs). Earthalujah, we’re all in this struggle together.
About almost half of the 25 singers in the choir – it’s a choir and a preacher – are from London and the rest is from New York. It’s a tale of two cities, and the bond that we have together is that we risk arrest on behalf of the Earth. We invade the property of banks that finance industrial projects that put CO2 into the air, oil companies, and so forth and so on. We’ve done this in various combinations for a very long time, we all know each other, we’ve seen each other in jail, and we are on our way to Glasgow right now.
So the values that we hold in common are that we need to take our message directly from the Earth to regard the Earth as a conscious being that is now in an uprising, now is feverish, and is in every sort of way trying to communicate. That communication is something that Earth culturists know how to respond to but we have lost, lost that language hundreds of years ago to become modern people.
But we need to go back to listening to the Earth, talking to the Earth, being with the Earth. We have to be earthy, we are made of the Earth. And in some ways we have to subvert our own culture because obviously right now the environmental movement is just not powerful enough. And it’s because we believe the environmental movement has divorced itself from the thing which it is protecting. (laughs) You know. You go to the Sierra club and you don’t find the Earth there (laughs again). Or you might have kids in T-shirts planting something you know, but they seem ashamed of the Earth.
So, we are earthy, we’re trying to create a new kind of faith in the Earth that is made of and for and by the Earth to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln.
I’m just gonna say Earthalujah now. Earthalujah, thank you everybody! Earthalujah!!”
Listen to our chat with Reverend Billy at the Capstone here:-
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir is a radical performace community. They use music, language and creative direct action. They work for the Earth.
More information about the Church of Stop Shopping here: