Interfaith Worship Service at Bank of America – a different kind of climate action 

by Iris Antman


Abby Brockway of Faith Action Climate Team and GreenFaith, in coalition with other climate groups protesting at other banks around Seattle and the country, led a group in an interfaith worship service at Bank of America on Capitol Hill in Seattle. April 25, 2023 was the day their annual shareholder’s meeting was held and a variety of resolutions demanding the end of investments in fossil fuel projects, protection of Indigenous people’s land and rights, among others, were to be voted on. 

Anyone who’s paying attention understands we’re in a critical period to limit carbon emissions. Temperature has risen about 1.1 degrees C. above pre-industrial levels. Scientists have been clear about what is likely to happen if we surpass 1.5 degrees, crossing tipping points and putting into motion negative feedback loops. In 2015 the Paris Climate Accord signers, 196 countries, agreed to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees, saying they would make a strong effort not to exceed 1.5. 


Even at 1.1 degrees, we’re seeing massive climate and environmental destruction worldwide: floods in Pakistan, fires in Australia, droughts in Africa, all of which are happening in the U.S. as well.  Increasing extreme weather events that scientists say are related to climate change are wreaking havoc in people’s lives and costing untold amounts of money to restore, rebuild and renew communities and livelihoods. And famine, violence, and mass migration are exacerbated due to the warming and precipitously changing climate.

Glaciers around the world are melting faster than previously predicted causing sea level rise and inland flooding. Species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate due to habitat loss and an expanded human footprint. Losing biodiversity including insects and birds will result in decreased food production. It will be more difficult to maintain healthy, liveable communities.

Living in Seattle it might seem easy to turn away from the suffering around the country and the world. But what about our recent heat domes, and summer/fall smoke seasons resulting in hundreds of deaths? This is climate change. We must not and should not turn away.

And so twelve climate activists from different spiritual and religious traditions held an interfaith worship service in a bank! We spoke prayers, sang songs, meditated, and shared on a personal level about the reasons each of us was there. We prayed for all beings, the bank employees and shareholders, the CEOs and boards of directors of the banks and the oil companies, the faceless corporations that continue to act as if money is more important than life. We meditated with peace and good will for all living beings, everywhere, none omitted. 

Our minds cleared, our hearts opened, and we shared love and care for ourselves, each other, our loved ones, and all beings, as we fervently sent prayers to the bank officials to stop funding fossil fuels. May it be so.