UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Song leader, police and gate blockers in front of the Kinder Morgan gates. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

A faith leader reflects on protesting the pipeline with the Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation.

By Kimiko Karpoff

On April 28, 2018, faith leaders from many traditions, including the United Church, stood in solidarity with Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C.. Kimiko Karpoff captured the day in pictures and words. 

It was the singing that stood out for me. Singing as resistance. Singing as a spiritually grounding and communally uplifting practice to calm tension and support the people on the frontlines who had put themselves forward for potential arrest. Singing in church is one thing but this was powerful prayer.


When the RCMP arrived to read the 12-page court injunction to those blocking the gate we sang in earnest. It takes a long time to read 12 pages. 

The people gonna rise like the water
Gonna shut this pipeline down
I hear the voice of my great granddaughter
Saying shut Kinder Morgan down

"We vow to protect all life" banner. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff
Supporters gather in preparation for the protest. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

The arrests didn't happen right away. The RCMP took the time to set up a space for on-site processing of those arrested, who face fines of up to $500 and will be required to appear in court. Although the injunction was read collectively, the arrests were individual. Each person was approached and given the opportunity to leave the gate or be arrested. And whether they chose moving away or arrest, they were supported in song.


Courage [Courage]
My friend [My friend]
You do not walk alone
We will [We will]
Walk with you [Walk with you]
And sing your spirit home

To date over 200 people have been arrested. 


Rev. Rob Crosby-Shearer, Anglican priest and conference minister for Embracing the Spirit, B.C., prays moments before being arrested. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff
Rev. Barry Morris from the Longhouse Ministry in Vancouver is arrested. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

The callout came from spiritual leaders of the Tsleil-Waututh of the Coast Salish people asking "Religious Leaders and all people of faith and spirit" to stand with them in defense of the lands and the water on April 28th. We gathered at 8 a.m. Buddhist, Muslim, Christians from 10 different denominations, Jewish, ecumenical leaders, Quaker and Indigenous peoples walked together from the camp to the Watch House and on to the gate. Those who had chosen to be the first to risk arrest walked together with a banner that said Water is Life and Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline.


Protesters gather in front of the Watch House. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

Until 3 p.m. we prayed and sang. Throughout the day people offered prayers from their faith traditions. 


Prayers from many faiths are attached to the gate prior to the blocking the gate. Rev. Barry Morris from the Longhouse Ministry in Vancouver is arrested. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff
Member of KAIROS at the protest. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff
Members of Esquimalt United joined 50 others on a bus that came from Vancouver Island. Rev. Barry Morris from the Longhouse Ministry in Vancouver is arrested. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

And when voices joined together singing the traditional spiritual "As I Went Down to the River to Pray," for me it felt like the very water of the world was singing courage with us. Even the relentless rain could not dampen the spirit of the gathered. 


As I went down to the river to pray
Studying about the good old ways
And who should wear the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way
O sister, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O brother, let's go down

Down to the river to pray


Protesters preparing to block the gate. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

Kimiko Karpoff is a writer, photographer and diaconal minister. She shares stories in words and images at scatteredsacred.com


Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Columns

Courtesy Aurora Coulthard

To those who said I'll only be respected as a minister because I'm pretty

by Aurora Coulthard

A young ministry student says Christians, both within and outside of the United Church, have discouraged her from following her call.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Editor/publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Sharing a meal with friends is a radical act of gratitude

by Jocelyn Bell

"I’ve begun to consider that regardless of how I’m feeling on Thanksgiving Day, the very act of preparing and enjoying a feast is an expression of gratitude in and of itself."

Promotional Image

Video

Meet beloved church cats Mable and Mouse

by Observer Staff

They're a fixture of Kirk United Church Centre in Edmonton.

Promotional Image

Justice

September 2018

Period poverty is a serious issue in Canada

by Angela Mombourquette

The high cost of menstrual products means many Canadians go without. Activists are seeing red.

Faith

October 2018

My church was literally dying, until we returned to prayer and confession

by Connie denBok

"No magic formulas. Just grace emerging through weakness."

Society

October 2018

4 Canadians with disabilities on the challenges they've faced in the workforce

by Diane Peters

Of the 14 percent of people in Canada with a disability, only half are employed. Companies are losing out.

Promotional Image