S&L – Issue 11

Salt and Light

Issue Eleven (June 2010)

Five Leaf Church Greening Initiative Newsletter

We believe that Creation Care is a core Christian responsibility”

The aim of this newsletter is to provide a supportive and informative link between individuals and groups that share a care and Christian responsibility for our environment. You are on this newsletter list because you have expressed an interest in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards program or have communicated with the National Coordinator – Jessica Morthorpe.

Contents

l  Letter from the Editor

l  Church Greening News

l  Events

l  Resources

l  Monthly Action Tip

l  Reading

l  Book Review

l  Discussion Question

l  Quotes of the month

l  Crown of Thorns Blog

l  Websites to visit

Letter from the Editor:

Hi Everyone,

This year’s World Environment Day was the most exciting I have ever had. Invited to present Five Leaf Eco-Awards at the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change’s inaugural Eco Awards Dinner, it was my honour to meet and reward some of the leaders of the faith greening movement in Australia.

The dinner was personally very exciting for many reasons. Firstly, I got to reward some great churches for the amazing things they have done (I think you will agree when you read their stories in our Church Greening Story Booklet resource which is now available) in leading the Australian church as a whole towards a sustainable future. Those driving the work these churches have done are amazing people, and most of them weren’t satisfied with just helping their own churches to become greener – they had to help other churches as well.

Secondly, this has been an amazing boost for the pilot Five Leaf Eco-Awards program, which started in January 2009 with the presentation of the Basic Certificate to Port Melbourne Uniting Church in Victoria and now has a total of 12 churches involved, 10 of which have earned awards so far. The presentations on the night included awarding the second ever Basic Certificate to Maroubra Junction Uniting Church, recognition of our hosts- St Mark’s Anglican Church South Hurstville (2 awards), the presentation of the first Basic Certificate in our new school/church community category to three young environmental leaders from St Ignatius College Riverview, and recognition of Charlestown Anglican Parish (3 awards) and St George’s Uniting Church Eden (4 awards). For more information about the awards see the Church Greening News section below for ARRCC’s press release and an announcement of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards presented.

A wonderful meat-free meal was enjoyed by all as part of ARRCC’s commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by having meat free days.*

I was really encouraged by the enthusiasm of those present, and the wide variety of groups and faiths represented. I believe we all went home feeling inspired and a little less alone in our fight for God’s creation.

I would like to thank ARRCC and in particular Bruce Cooke and Shyreen Lal for inviting me to present the Five Leaf Eco-Awards at the dinner, for all their help in the lead up, and for the wonderful job they did organising the night – it was a real success.

I will be presenting Fitzroy Uniting Church at CERES’ awards on the 18th of July, and presentations at Springwood Uniting Church, Templestowe Uniting Church and Canberra City Uniting Church will be coming up over the next few months.

In other news, on the 30th of May the Kippax Ethical Shopping Tour was held at Kippax Uniting Church and the local Woolworths supermarket. The tour went very well with about a dozen people attending to learn more about some tools to help us make more ethical choices when shopping. I think participants gained an understanding of the breadth of the challenge involved in considering all the relevant factors to make an ethical decision, but also that with the right tools it is possible to make the best informed decision we can. We also learnt the value of doing such activities together, as we could all add our individual knowledge of this broad topic to assist with group decisions. To assist participants with decision making I have put together a couple of resources which people are welcome to request from me. This tour was inspired by the Ethical Supermarket Tour resources put together by the Ethical Consumer group.

Upcoming activities I am involved in include workshops by Cath James (Environmental Project Officer, Justice and International Mission Unit, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia) at Voices for Justice, speaking at the Greening With God conference of the JCMA, hosting a workshop “Faith for a Greener Future” at the School of Discipleship, and speaking at Fitzroy Uniting Church at CERES on the 18th of July. We are also planning another Greenhills Camp and Conference Centre working bee in July to finish the Environmental Resource room and one in October.

Yours Sincerely,

Jessica Morthorpe

PS. In ARRCC’s press release you will note the mention of Caloundra Uniting Church, joint winners of the ARRCC Climate Change Award; their story was covered in Salt and Light Issue Seven and is also in the Church Greening Story Booklet.

There were also joint winners of the “ARRCC Climate Change Award” – Caloundra Uniting Church
*For more information about ARRCC’s meat-free day campaign see http://www.arrcc.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=56&Itemid=25

w: http://victas.uca.org.au/green-church/awards

 

 

 

 

 

Church Greening News

Five Leaf Eco-Awards Presented at the ARRCC Eco Awards Dinner

The following Five Leaf Eco-Awards were presented on the 5th June 2010:

  • Maroubra Junction Uniting Church – Basic Certificate
  • St Ignatius Jesuit Community Riverview – Basic Certificate (School/Church Community Category)
  • St Mark’s Anglican Church South Hurstville – Basic Certificate and Eco-Worship Award
  • Charlestown Anglican Parish – Basic Certificate, Eco-Worship Award, Advanced Eco-Outreach Award
  • St George’s Uniting Church Eden – Basic Certificate, Eco-Worship Award, Advanced Eco-Outreach Award and Advanced Eco-Congregation Award

Other Five Leaf Eco-Awards announced at this event but not presented include:

  • Springwood Uniting Church – Basic Certificate
  • Templestowe Uniting Church – Eco-Worship Award
  • Canberra City Uniting Church – Eco-Worship Award
  • Fitzroy Uniting Church – Basic Certificate, Eco-Worship Award and Advanced Eco-Church Building Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                          Tuesday 8 June 2010

 

Faith Groups Awarded for Environmental Excellence

That faith communities are leading the way in sustainability became evident at a formal Awards Dinner celebrating World Environment Day on 5th June.

The vegetarian dinner was organised by multi-faith network the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and held at the Anglican Church in South Hurstville Sydney.

One of two keynote speakers for the evening, CEO of The Climate Institute John Connor, emphasised the importance of interfaith cooperation on climate change.  “Global ambition to act on climate change is fragile, but is moving forward in most countries.  We urgently need greater cooperation across faiths, between religious and secular groups, across countries, and between rich and poor if we are to speed the journey to a less polluting and wasteful world”, said Mr Connor.

Bhante Sujato of Santi Forest Monastery and the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils shared his thoughts with the gathering about the significant contribution of religions in this journey.  “We don’t only need changes in our technologies”, he said.  “We also need to change how much we consume.  While there are people across the world who don’t have adequate shelter or enough to eat, many of us consume far more than we need.  Yet provision for our physical needs, caring relationships, and meaning in our lives are all that we need to be happy.  Religions have a particular contribution in providing this meaning.”

Five churches and a Catholic school, St Ignatius Jesuit Community Riverview, achieved the “Five-Leaf Eco-Awards”, a non-competitive Christian award program recognising environment improvements in buildings, worship, congregation, outreach and leadership.

For outstanding effort in championing the link between spirituality and ecology, the Faith and Ecology Network received the “Spirituality and Ecology Award”.  The “Community Connections Award” was won by al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development, for its excellence in partnering with the local community on its Cooks River regeneration project.

The Eco-Champion Award for individuals was jointly won by Rev Bob Thomas, who was instrumental in the bottled water-free Bundy-on-Tap initiative, and Deepanjali Gupta, co-founder of the Indian Youth Climate Network.  There were also joint winners of the “ARRCC Climate Change Award” – Caloundra Uniting Church, which installed solar panels in the shape of a cross, and the Anglican Church Diocese of Canberra/Goulburn for climate change leadership across multiple parishes.

Also acknowledged for environmental excellence were the Franciscan Province of the Holy Spirit, Catholic Mission, and Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassion Relief.

Notes:

Media contact: Thea Ormerod, President, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, mobile 0405 293 466.  Ms Ormerod can also provide photographs of the dinner.

 

Speech by Jessica Morthorpe at the ARRCC Eco-Awards Dinner:

As the world struggles to come to grips with the meaning and importance of the ecological crisis, faith groups, as the light of the world, need to share our hope for the future. As society lives in denial and fear of the consequences of our actions, our faith gives us the strength to face the truth and fight for change. As faith groups, we do not just have a role to play in the solution to the ecological crisis – we can provide the pivotal skills, knowledge and capital to lead the change towards more sustainable lives. Our focus on caring for others, rejecting the power that consumerism and possessions have over us, our concern for the poor and for creation, and our position as hubs of social capital within an increasingly individualistic society make us ideal to lead and develop a new way of living- one that is more compassionate, more intelligent and more sustainable.

I developed the Five Leaf Eco-Awards because of the strength of my belief in the importance of the role that faith groups have in forging a new and more sustainable future. A future where we don’t really talk about greening faith groups, because caring for creation is such an integral part of everything we do that this would be senseless. We designed these awards as a tool, in the hope that we can inspire and support faith groups to go further and faster in this journey, and to help them become the community leaders we believe they can be.

As a Christian I started in the churches, but I hope to see the Five Leaf Eco-Awards expand to all faiths in the near future. We designed the program to be holistic – not only encouraging infrastructure changes in buildings for sustainability, but also behaviour change and a greening of worship, congregation, outreach and community leadership.

To this end, we developed the two stages of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards – the Basic and Advanced level, with six awards in total: the Basic Certificate, Eco-Worship Award, Eco-Church Building Leaf Award, Eco-Congregation Leaf Award, Eco-Outreach Leaf Award and the pinnacle of the program – the Five Leaf Award. Tonight, we get to congratulate those who have done wonderful things for creation and have managed to fulfil the requirements of some of these awards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events

Who’s afraid of a climate treaty? Wednesday 23 June
Hear Robyn Eckersley as part of the 2010 Wednesday Lectures: Who’s Afraid of International Law? Each year Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) School of Philosophy runs a free public lecture series addressing a theme or issue of contemporary relevance and importance for the community. 6.30pm in the Mercy Lecture Theatre, at Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s), Fitzroy. More info: http://www.acu.edu.au/about_acu/faculties_schools_institutes/faculties/theology_and_philosophy/schools/philosophy/events/the_wednesday_lectures/<http://nteu.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4e669ba00a195ce9722eefc4d&id=038c099c37&e=bf26f27066

 

The End of the line Saturday 8 July, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
BYO meal, movie 8 pm – 10:30 pm
Ethical Consumer Group Meal and Movie night will show ‘The End of the Line’ which focuses on fish and seafood choices. RSVP nick@ethical.org.au or 0417 114 492

Towards a sustainable world – starting with ourselves Thursday 15th July,

9.15 – 12.30 PM
Thomas Carr Centre, 278 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne
A workshop to help organisations become sustainable using Catholic Earthcare’s new ASSISSI initiative. For key people in all Catholic organisations, including social services, schools and parishes.

Workshop Leader: Jacqui Remond National Director Catholic Earthcare Australia

The workshop will focus on:
• The relationship between our Catholic faith and our local and global environment
• How agencies, parishes, schools and organisations are systematically responding to
the call for ecological conversion through the ASSISI initiative
• Learning how to use the ECIS’s ‘ecological footprint tool’ to measure, track and report
on your organisation’s footprint
• Introduction to the ASSISI formation program and ecological immersion programs
Cost: Payment of $25 can be made at the door, includes M/Tea and Lunch (please pay cash or cheque).

RSVP: To Emmy Silvius by Friday 9 July on 9287 5566 or office@css.org.au

 

JIM Convention 2010: Consuming Passions Saturday 2nd October, 9.30 AM – 4.30 PM

Centre for Theology & Ministry, 1 Morrison Close, Parkville (Melways Ref. Map 2B,D4)

We are all conscious that over-consumption is bad for the environment and can be bad for our health. It can also mean taking more than our fair share of a sustainable use of the world’s resources. However, is there such a thing as ethical consumerism or is it just another marketing tool to keep us consuming the earth’s resources? Are we immune to the tactics of marketers and advertisers, or are we kidding ourselves? What biblical and theological insights will help us?

The Convention will seek input from participants on Synod recommendations for the 2011 Synod and the work areas of the Justice and International Mission Unit.

Keynote speaker – Janette Gray RSM

Janette Gray is a lecturer in theology at the United Faculty of Theology in Parkville. She has previously lectured at Notre Dame University (Fremantle WA), Murdoch University (WA), Edith Cowan University (WA), Providence College Rhode Island (USA) and the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge (UK). Her teaching areas are the theology of the human person, Church, the interface between church and contemporary society, Church and social responsibility, feminist theology, and Christian-Muslim relations.

Panel Discussion Members

Jane Caro – communications consultant and lecturer in Advertising Creative at the School of Communication Arts at UWS. She has 30 years experience as an advertising writer and has been a regular panellist on the ABC program on advertising ‘The Gruen Transfer’ and has regular appearances on TV and radio. She has also co-authored two books ‘The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education’ and ‘The F Word. How we learned to swear by feminism’.

Professor Sandra Jones – Director of the Centre for Health Initiatives, University of Wollongong. Sandra is recognised as an international expert in the areas of social marketing and of the negative impacts of marketing on health and social welfare. She has published more than 80 refereed papers and has conducted extensive research analysing food and alcohol marketing.

Cameron Neil – Operations Manager, Fairtrade Labelling Australia & New Zealand

Liz Thompson – Former co-ordinator for the Fairwear campaign.

For more information please contact Marylou on 03 9251 5271 or email: Marylou.dellosa@victas.uca.org.au

World Animal Day 2010 – October 4th

World Animal Day is intended as a day of celebration for anyone in the world who cares about animals. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

World Animal Day is an opportunity for everyone who cares about animals to express their love and concern for all creatures by doing something special in celebration of our relationship with the animal kingdom.  www.worldanimalday.org.au  is full of ways to get involved and includes everything needed to help organise a successful World Animal Day event.  Events don’t have to take place on World Animal Day itself – as long as they are being advertised as World Animal Day events they can take place up to two weeks either side of 4th October.

Western Heights Uniting Church Eco-Festival October 9th

Eco-festival day at Western Heights Uniting on Douglass St, Herne Hill, Geelong on Saturday October 9th this year.

For more information see ecofest.wordpress.com

Resources

Church Greening Story Booklet

Be inspired by the stories of other churches and the actions they have taken to care for creation! This exciting new resource includes stories from all over Australia and a combination of Uniting Church, Anglican and Catholic churches.

You can download the booklet from http://wr.victas.uca.org.au/green-church or contact Cath James for a physical copy: cath.james@victas.uca.org.au

 

Monthly Action Tip

Run your own Ethical Shopping Tour!

What you need:

–          A local supermarket (and their permission to run the tour)

–          Some participants

–          About an hour

–          Some ethical issues you care about (eg. Fairtrade, Sustainable Seafood, recycled toilet paper)

–          Some Ethical Shopping Guides and other tools like a Sustainable Seafood Guide

What to do: Introduce participants to some of the things to consider in shopping more ethically by discussing some issues you care about, and then give them the opportunity to try using a tool like the Ethical Shopping Guide to make better choices.

Resources:

How to Run Your Own Tour Guide http://www.ethical.org.au/swac/owntour.php

Script from the Kippax Ethical Shopping Tour

Eating Ethically Guide by Jessica Morthorpe

Or if you live in Melbourne, attend the real thing. For the next tour dates see http://www.ethical.org.au/swac/

Reading

Five Leaf Eco-Award winning churches tell their stories:

Maroubra Junction Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

Project Green Church was a grass roots environmental project of Maroubra Junction Uniting Church that ran from 2006 to 2009. As Christians, we are committed to social and ecological justice and believe we have a moral imperative to act if we want to leave our children an inhabitable planet. The project, which stemmed from these convictions, was designed to make the church more environmentally sustainable and help inspire others to follow our example.

Our activities covered three main areas – buildings and property, possession and skill sharing, and mission and outreach. In addition to our website, we also created an 18 minute documentary about our story….

St Mark’s Anglican Church South Hurstville, NSW

EcoChurch is an environmental project for the parish and community that demonstrates our commitment to the stewardship of God’s creation. It provides connections with our local community, educates parishioners and community about climate change and other environmental issues, and facilitates action to reduce harmful environmental impact. A growing number of Christians now understand that concern and responsibility for the environment flow directly from our faith. This proposal is primarily about taking action – doing things to reduce both town water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

EcoChurch employs three strategies:

• improvements in church buildings and a new environmental focus in our parish life

• education and improvements in parish households

• taking the experience to the broader church and the local community…

St Ignatius College Riverview, a Jesuit community, Sydney, NSW

The Jesuit Community of St Ignatius College Riverview has as a major part of its preferred

futures, the vision to:

1. foster our community to appreciate the gift of creation and their responsibility for its future,

2. develop in our community the knowledge, skills values and commitment to move towards sustaining God’s creation, and inspire leadership within our community to move our society towards sustainability. College leaders have set up an Environment Committee comprising inspired members from across our community including students, staff and parents to guide the vision forward. One of the first steps undertaken was to formulate a Sustainable Environment Management Plan to guide the Committee’s strategies and actions. More recently a dedicated part time Environment Officer has been appointed to drive the plans…

 

Charlestown Anglican Parish, Newcastle, NSW

As Christians, we consider that we are stewards of God’s world and it is our duty to care for Earth, including other species, other human beings, and future generations, all of whom deserve to share in God’s creation. Our primary objective is based on the fifth mark of the Worldwide Anglican Communion mission: “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and renew the life of the earth”.

Our work has involved a variety of initiatives both within and outside our parish and diocese. One of our projects involved the restoration of the Winding Creek Gully and implementation of a rainwater harvesting program. This project had funding from the Australian Government’s Community Water Grants and involved the installation of 3 3,300 bladder-style tanks under St Alban’s hall to harvest rainwater to supply the toilets, wash basins and gardens. It is estimated that up to 130,000 litres of water per year will be saved. As well as saving water, the project involved rehabilitation of the Winding Creek Gully adjacent to St Alban’s church to remove lantana and improve the water quality and erosion in the creek. In addition to restoring the ecological value of the gully, a significant outcome from this project was being able to mulch and recycle the lantana that was removed. A variety of native plants were used to stabilise the bank and create an attractive area for use by the community as a quiet haven. The project has also involved reshaping the eroded creek bed to prevent ongoing erosion…

 

St George’s Uniting Church, Eden, NSW.

We started our Garden of Eden community project in May 2006. Our mission is to: work with the community to create an eco-conscious and wonder filled garden, and a lively community art and cultural centre to connect with Creator, Earth and all humanity.’

 

We wanted to re-establish a dynamic relationship with our community using a project which could encompass everyone, regardless of age, background, religion, etc. We especially wanted to be inclusive of those who feel marginalised. As Eden does not have a community centre where people can come together, we also wanted to address this need. The church is sitting on an acre of land which was largely unused and it was agreed that a community garden was going to be the perfect expression of our desires.

We started with enormous faith – and no garden tools or money to buy them. On the first day it rained and only one person turned up, Roger. As it happened he was an artist and designed our sign. And everything happened from there….

To read the full stories visit at http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/ or download the Church Greening Stories Booklet.

 

Book Review

Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, Ellen F. Davis, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2009.

“This book explores the “sheer pervasiveness” of the Bible’s concern for the health of the land and all of God’s creatures. As members of an agrarian society, the biblical authors’ learned to think and order their lives in ways that respect the health of land and of all living creatures. Davis shows that land tenure is the central issue in the Hebrew Bible, and is understood to be conditional on the community’s proper use and care of land. The biblical authors were theologians who confronted the practical economic and political situation of their society, not theological idealists. By acknowledging the agrarian perspective that informs so many biblical texts, we can begin to recognize what causes inequity in our own society and to see how we might live more justly. Davis shows how an agrarian reading of the Bible resonates with the work of contemporary writers like Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and Bill McKibbon, and offers a vision and a set of principles that can reshape our thinking in ways that respond to the needs of the land and all of God’s creatures, and that can encourage authentic human flourishing.

The book is arranged in a series of nine chapters that can be read more or less independently, making it useful for adult classes that wish to explore a variety of issues, including those of resource availability, contemporary food production, and revitalization of our cities.”

 

Review by George Fisher, Care for Creation – Book Reviews, <http://www.creationcarebaltimore.com/bookreviews.htm> accessed 17/6/10

 

Discussion Question

 

What role do you see your church playing in creating a greener future?

To answer visit http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/ or join the Church Greening and Christian Environmentalist Network on Facebook.

Quotes of the Month

“God intends… our care of creation to reflect our love for the Creator.” John R.W.Stott

“If I am going to be in the right relationship with God, I should treat the things he has made in the same way he treats them.” Francis Schaeffer

“In a time of ecological emergency, the church can offer to the world a hope that is rooted in the power of God to bring new life into all that has been created.” Wesley Granberg Michaelson

Crown of Thorns Blog

Want to learn more about church greening or reflect on what the Bible says about the environment? Then visit the Crown of Thorns blog by Jessica Morthorpe at http://fiveleaf-crownofthorns.blogspot.com/

Websites to Visit:

Creation Care for Pastors Website

http://www.creationcareforpastors.com/

 

 

 

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