South Sydney Uniting Church
South Sydney Uniting Church have started their year with a bang, being presented with two prestigious Five Leaf Eco-Awards on Sunday. The inner-city church, famous for the South Sydney Herald newspaper and their Eden Community Garden, home to a host of happy chickens, birds and frogs.
The awards make South Sydney the 31st church in Australia to be recognised for their environmental achievements by the program. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are a national ecumenical environmental change initiative that assists, inspires and rewards churches and religious organisations for environmental action. There are currently six non-competitive awards of varying difficulty available.
To receive the Basic Certificate (the first award in the program) and Eco-Worship Award, South Sydney had to complete a range of environmental criteria in addition to their community garden, including installing solar panels, a solar hot water system and a water tank, composting their organic waste, providing a range of resources to the congregation to be environmentally friendly at home and talking about the environment in their newspaper and through their Orchard Gallery exhibition space, and the work of the South Sydney Uniting Church Art Group, which focuses on creation themes every spring.
South Sydney also has a strong focus on the environmental issues and themes in their worship, including annual participation in the ‘Season of Creation’ – a month long period of reflection and worship around eco themes.
Founder and Director of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards, Jessica Morthorpe, visited the church to present the awards, saying she was excited to take lots of photos so other churches can be inspired by South Sydney’s example to pursue sustainability and environmental awards.
The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are a national ecumenical environmental change initiative that assists, inspires and rewards churches and religious organisations for environmental action. There are currently six awards of varying difficulty available.
Ms Morthorpe said “Founded in 2008, the Five Leaf Eco-Awards are non- competitive, with churches completing tasks from a list of flexible criteria to earn each certificate. The program is designed to encourage churches to embrace the important role they are called to play within the environmental movement.
“Christian eco-theology and teaching on the environment make it very clear that caring for Creation is a vital priority for the Church.
“All around the world churches are embracing action by creating more environmentally friendly buildings, helping members of their congregations to change their behaviour, educating their communities on sustainability and advocating with decision makers to give greater consideration to the poor and the environment.
“In Australia, our network of Five Leaf Eco-Awards churches is at the forefront of this growing church greening movement. It’s a really exciting thing to be part of.”