S&L – Issue 21
Salt and Light
Issue Twenty One (August 2011)
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.
l Letter from the Editor
l Five Leaf Eco-Awards in the News – Green Blessing for Church
l Church Greening News – Green Fever at US Churches
l Reading – Church Community Gardens Paper
l Resources – Season of Creation and Sustainable September
l Inspirational Quote
Letter from the Editor:
For our friends – John and I have exciting news: John has accepted a job as the Media and Public Relations Coordinator for the Conservation Council of WA. We are both really excited about this opportunity and the new horizons available for us in Perth. John will be leaving later this week, and I will follow after I finish my Grad. Dip. of Theology in late October. I am looking forward to moving and having the chance to encourage more churches in WA to get involved in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards but I want to assure all the east coast Five Leaf Eco-Awards churches that I will still be just as keen to provide advice and assistance via phone or email and I will be able to visit churches when I return east to see my family. Salt and Light will continue as normal.
Also, can I bring the following to the attention of anyone in Newcastle or those attending the Uniting Church NSW.ACT Synod meeting in September. I will be attending all of these events if you know someone who you would like to chat to me about learning more about the Five Leaf Eco-Awards.
Environmental activities around Synod this September
– On Friday 23rd, all are invited to the “faith. on earth” passion booster day at the wonderful Hunter Wetlands Centre, organised by the Uniting Earthweb Group and Uniting Eco-Faith Mid North Coast. The event is open to all so why not bring a friend? More info.
– On Sunday 25th, there will be an evening elective on outdoor worship with an eco focus, held at The Willows Uniting Church in Warners Bay. Everyone is welcome. More details soon.
– On Monday 26th, all are welcome to the lunchtime information session at Newcastle Uni on the Five Leaf Eco-Awards, and learn about how your church can get involved or earn one of the range of available awards. This event will be held from 12:30pm* in the McMullen Theatre.
– Throughout Synod, drop in to the Uniting Earthweb stall for information, resources or a chat.
*Please note previous advertisements said 12:00, this is incorrect, this event is to be held during the Synod lunchtime which begins at 12:30pm.
Finally, those in Canberra might be interested in the following Season of Creation celebrations at my home church of Kippax Uniting.
Season of Creation at Kippax
For the four weeks of September, we are going to be celebrating Seasons of Creation. Each Sunday morning, following worship, there will be an opportunity to be involved in an ‘excursion’ or ‘event’ that will also fit with the theme for the day. Please mark these in your diary now so you don’t miss out
4 September. “Land Sunday” Over our regular lunch, Jess Morthorpe will speak with us about how to be environmentally aware with our shopping. We will then have the chance to head over to Kippax Fair and be part of the ‘ethical shopping challenge’, so we can learn how to put this into practice straight away
11 September. After celebrating “Forest Sunday” we will be having a congregational picnic at the Arboretum. The Arboretum guides are putting on a special tour for us that day – a great opportunity for us all
18 September. Our theme is “Animal Sunday”. During the 945 service we will have our Blessing of the Animals service. Across the morning we will also have a “Masterchef Cupcake” time to raise funds for the RSPCA. Be prepared to try out your best recipes and buy out someone else’s efforts
25 September. After observing “Flora Sunday” Stuart Anderson will be orienting us all into what is happening with the Kippax Community Garden. The first of the beds and the plants will be in (we hope) by then, so we can get a great sense of how it is all going to work – and why – and how we can be involved
Five Leaf Eco-Awards in the News
CANBERRA City Uniting Church has been presented with a Five Leaf Eco-Award for its dedication to caring for the environment.
The church, located on Northbourne Avenue, is the first in the ACT to receive this award, and the sixth in Australia to do so.
The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are based on the “creation care” concept, which treats care for the environment as a basic tenant of religious faith.
This has included participation in a range of working bees that conducted weeding and established an environmental resource room at the Greenhills Centre on Cotter Road and holding discussions on issues around ecological footprints, greening the church and responses to the disappointment felt by many after the perceived failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit last year.
Some members of this congregation are also part of the church’s newly established student house, which was recently energy-audited to help its residents live as sustainably as possible.
From left: Five Leaf Eco-Awards director Jessica Morthorpe, Rev. Myung Hwa Park and the City at Night congregation with the church’s Eco Worship Award. Image supplied by the Five Leaf Eco-Awards.
Rev. Myung Hwa Park accepted the award, in the category of eco-worship, on behalf of the church. Rev. Park, who trained in eco-theology while living in Ireland and was one of the driving forces behind the campaign for the award, was very proud to see the church recognised.” Receiving this award makes us feel even more committed to caring for the environment, which I see as a crucial responsibility for modern Christians,” Rev. Park says.She says she’s already working on what they can do next, with a Cupcake Day event to raise money for the RSPCA being planned for a City at Night service later this year.
Five Leaf Eco-Awards Director and Canberra resident Jessica Morthorpe, who presented the award, says she was hopeful that Rev. Park and the Canberra City Uniting congregations would inspire other local churches to get involved in the program.
“The word is slowly getting out, currently we have 15 churches nationwide involved in the program, as well as many more who have expressed their interest,” she says.
“There are lots of churches out there doing things for the environment that deserve recognition and many others who want to do something but are not sure where to start or need some support and advice. I want to encourage those churches to get involved in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards.
“The awards are based here, so churches in Canberra have the opportunity to invite personal involvement from myself, as well as the existing benefits of being involved in the program.”
For more information on the Five Leaf Eco-Awards go here.
Church Greening News
Green Fever at U.S. Churches
Some Congregations Believe Global Warming is a Moral Crisis
By Amanda Winkler | Christian Post Reporter
The “going green” movement isn’t just attracting hippie tree huggers. There is fresh evidence that church congregations around the country are moving toward a more environmentally friendly plan to save money and mother earth.
From a religious perspective, some congregations believe that global climate change is a moral crisis.
U.S. congregations are examining their habits and asking what their faith demands of them in response to the mounting concerns of global warming.
In fact, recent studies show that churches, synagogues and mosques are as passionate about saving the planet as they are about saving souls.
Members say if churches reduce their environmental impact and save money, it is an effective way to minister to the world. It also allows good stewards to live a happier, healthier life – without the guilt of excess. This, in turn, is what God wants us for us, that through Him is a life we can live more abundantly.
Most every religious group including Baptist, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish are recycling, using green technology and solar panels to lower electricity bills, paper bulletins and orders of service have been eliminated in favor of PowerPoint slide presentations, and opting to bring supplies from home to replace ordering plastic cups and other items in bulk.
“We’ve seen this explosion of activity at the individual and congregational level that is really a sign that this is firmly centered in terms of who we are as a religious people,” Matthew Anderson-Stembridge, executive director of National Religious Partnership for the Environment, a coalition of Jewish and Christian denominations formed in the early 1990s, said in a recent interview.
Recent research reveals that houses of worship are some of the biggest wasters of energy on a per capita, per hour-of-use basis.
Many churches in the United States also are making the move toward green to reduce costs, according to a recent Religion News Service report.
“Even churches of conservative traditions that were opposed to going green may get there sooner than they thought because of the need to save money,” said Simeon May, chief executive officer of the National Association of Church Business Administration.
With help from the “save not pay” attitude now spreading around the country, churches and other religious institutions are cutting back on energy consumption, investing in more efficient heating and lighting systems, buying renewable energy, and even, on occasion, joining the effort to “build green.”
Congregations that practice environmental stewardship can save 30 percent on their utility bills, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
If all U.S. congregations did the same, they’d save an estimated $573 million annually and prevent 6 million tons of CO2 from polluting the air – the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the road, according to the EPA.
And saving money can be critical to ministries along the Gulf Coast region that are struggling to get back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina.
Organizations are getting involved in the “green church” movement including the Eco-Justice Program (EJP) at the National Council of Churches of Christ, which is an organization that urges Protestant and Orthodox communities to place a higher value on God’s call to protect His creation.
The EJP offers a gamut of programs that give churches the opportunity to implement sustainable programs such as energy, food, and water conservation just to name a few.
Cassandra Carmichael, the executive director of EJP, says they have seen more church communities become interested in protecting and restoring the environment.
She said the secular world is now trending foot-print reduction lifestyles that are designed to lessen the harm caused by humans on the environment.
For example, hybrid cars are rising in popularity, recycling, and reusable metal water bottles are becoming mainstream choices.
Therefore, most churches couldn’t help but catch onto their congregation’s growing desire to protect the environment and have made it a collective exercise. For example, Carmichael says most churches have incorporated “going green” into their spiritual teachings.
“There’s a congregation that grows their own food. It’s a huge garden.”
Carmichael goes on to say that the Church gives some of the food to the poor in order to fulfill Christ’s teaching of “feeding the hungry.” They also have local inmates comes and help tend the garden.
She said this not only provides work for the inmates but also serves as an opportunity to reach out to those who might not be familiar with the Gospel.
“The moral issues of our times, including environmental care, are a part of the practice of our faith and thus very important,” said Joel Hunter, pastor at Northland Church in Florida. He added that nothing is greater than the importance of saving souls, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The movement in the nation’s churches seems to be led by the members and not the leaders at the pulpit.
“I think it’s congregation-driven rather than leadership-driven. This is what people are bringing to the church,” said Gerald Smith, religion professor at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., as quoted by the Sentinel.
“The surprising thing for me is there seems to be some consensus. We are seeing very conservative Protestant denominations embracing Earth care, and you are seeing some mainline, more-liberal denominations,” said Darby Ray, associate professor of religious studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., according to the Sentinel.
However, Carmichael insists that the call for churches to become environmentally friendly is biblically based.
“There’s two ways to look at this. First, in Genesis it talks directly about being good stewards and we are called to take care of God’s creation. Second, there is an aspect of justice to it which is also biblically based – the call to take care of ‘the least of these.’ The lifestyles that we lead should be done in a way that is sustainable because often times environmental problems come at the expense of communities of color.”
Many conservative Christians believed in years past that God intended man to exploit the earth for his or her own benefit.
Now it seems, most congregational members are taking more of a “steward” approach and have the desire to ensure God’s creation is left intact for future generations.
“In this economy, I have noticed that most churches have some version of a green committee at their church,” said Cynthia Cannon, executive director of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes, based in Austin, Texas.
Recent studies show that church members are moving toward green thinking not only because it affects future generations and those around the globe, but because it will hit hardest among the “least of us,” the vulnerable communities and people in poverty across the globe.
By taking action in their own houses of worship and in their own homes – living lives that use less carbon – people of faith become examples to the rest of the community. By speaking out – giving voice to the voiceless – people of faith become teachers to the world.
Not all churches are embracing the green fever or share the enthusiasm most congregations possess.
Some church members remain unconvinced that global warming results from human activity, and see the whole green movement as part of a liberal agenda. Others resist discussing the environment in a theological context.
Green-energy products generally cost more until they are fully developed. In Massachusetts, one product, ReGen, currently costs 3 cents more a kilowatt hour, about 60 cents more a day for an average home, researchers said.
“If we pull our focus away from God and back into earthly matters, that will cause us to backslide,” said Martha Baker, a church member in Biloxi, Miss.
“I think global warming is real and I think our church should save money but technology is changing so fast that whatever you purchase today – another bigger and better model hits the market tomorrow. I say rely on God and not technology to show us how to live.”
For ten ways to go green and stay green visit the World Watch Institute at: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/3915
Get on your bikes and ride during Ride to Worship Week 2011
The second annual Ride to Worship Week runs from Friday 7th to Thursday 13th October 2011. To join in the fun, all you need to do is to cycle, walk, or use another form of environmentally friendly transport to get and from church. You can join in as an individual, a family, or as a whole church or faith community. Check out the brand new Ride to Worship Week clip, read more about Ride to Worship Week, and register your participation at http://www.arrcc.org.au/ride-to-worship-week-2011. Ride to Worship Week is an initiative of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).
We invite you to join with us for a Day of Prayer on climate change
Sunday 6th November
Hope for Creation will be a day for Christians to unite in prayer to God for the world in a changing climate.
Churches across Australia will join with Christians around the world to prayerfully seek guidance as to how we are to respond to the changes that are happening in God’s creation.
As Christians, we believe that prayer is vital for bringing about change in our world and ourselves, and that it is a testimony and reminder to ourselves and others of the hope we have in God’s love for creation and his desire to redeem all of it.
Changes in the environment are already harming our neighbours in poor countries and threaten our children’s futures. In seeking God in prayer, we draw on our united faith and hope in a God who loves and sustains the world.
Who’s behind it?
Key churches and organisations: TEAR Australia; Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Justice and International Mission Unit; World Vision Australia; ETHOS: EA (Evangelical Alliance) Centre for Christianity and Society; Micah Challenge Australia, and the Baptist Union of Victoria.
Other supporters of the Day of Prayer are listed at: http://www.hopeforcreation.com.au
This isn’t a prescriptive day. We don’t have to all respond the same way, or have the exact same ideas and beliefs about climate change for us to pray together.
Adaptable Hope for Creation resources for the Day of Prayer will include:
A website with information, prayers, resources and a place for churches and individuals
|Is a carbon price in Australia’s interest?|
|Date: Wednesday August 31st
Time: 6.00 to 7.30pm
Venue: Australian National University, Manning Clark Lecture Theatre 3 (near the student Union)
|Come and attend an interactive community forum on the Government’s Clean Energy Future package.
Topics of discussion will include if a carbon price is in Australia’s interest, if the plans are in line with the science and if Australia is doing its fair share internationally. Presentations by the panel will be followed with time for questions.
This forum is being organised by SayYes Canberra and is sponsored by the Australian National University.
For more information on the forum contact: Steve O’Connor
For more information on SayYes visit:www.sayyesaustralia.org.au
Invite your friends on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=236636749712743
Water, Community and Food
Thursday 8 September
Speaker: Dr John Williams: Former Chief CSIRO Land and Water; member of the Wentworth Group of Scientists; Adjunct Professor, Charles Sturt University
Time: 7.30 pm
Venue: Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Corner of Blackall and Kings Ave Barton
Cost: donation $5 invited
C A N B ERRA C I T Y U N I T I N G C H U RC H
CARING FOR GOD’S CREATION EVENTS
10.00 am Sunday 2 October: Caring for the Creation our Children will Inherit
Guest preacher Bishop George Browning will set the theme for our environment month through worship, and as we baptise James Wray.
7.30 pm Wednesday 13 October: Climate Change “Denial” Twisting Language?
Dr Haydn Washington, an Investigations Scientist for the CSIRO and a councillor of the Australian Conservation Foundation explores how it is that that belief has waned as science has firmed? Hosted by Christians for an Ethical Society at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
7.00 pm Monday 17 October: Addressing climate change in our own homes and church.
Mingles will host a dinner with Prof. Bob Douglas from SEE-change, a community organisation founded to encourage people to take action at the grassroots level on climate change.
7.30 pm Monday 24 October: Forum for finding the road forward to a clean energy future.
Roger Beale, an economist and public policy expert, will explain various response options open to Australia – an ETS, direct action, or a composite of both – in terms of implications for our nation’s economy and our standing as a responsible global citizen. Roger is a member of the federal Climate Commission, former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Heritage, a lead author for the UN’s Inter- Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, and an active member of the Anglican Church.
Bible Studies: Genesis – foundations of a creation theology
Basil Rebera will explore the relationship between creation and redemption theology in the two creation stories in the beginning of Genesis. They will be studied in two sessions offered Sunday mornings (30 Oct & 6 Nov) and Thursday mornings (3 & 10 Nov).
10.00 am Sunday 30 October: Longing for wisdom on our changing climate
We draw the strands of care for creation together in worship inspired by the music and song of the Chorus of Women.
CONTACT PERSON: REV IVAN ROBERTS
Canberra City Uniting Church
69 Northbourne Avenue
Canberra City ACT 2600
T: 6257 4600 | F: 6257 4230
CES October Forum
The topic is :Climate Change “Denial” Twisting Language?
Speaker: Dr Haydn Washington, co-author with John Cook of “’Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand “. Haydn has worked as an Investigations Scientist for the CSIRO and as an environmental consultant. He has been Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and as a councillor of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
- Is denial just sceptisicm by another name?
- How is it that belief has waned as science has firmed?
- How common is denial? Do we let it prosper?
- What role has manipulation of language played in the new denial
Chair: Rev’d Rebecca Newland who is rector of St Philip’s O’Connor, ACT
When: 7.30 pm Thursday 13 October
Where: Australian centre for Christianity and Culture. Blackall St Braddon
CES November Forum
Topic: “Sustainable Cities”
Speaker: Professor Peter Newman, Director of the Curtin University Sustainability Institute
Chair: Rev Gregor Henderson; CES President and Minister at Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest
When: 7:30 pm Friday, 25 November 2011
Where: Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Corner Blackall St and Kings Av, Barton
The Climate Crisis as the Crisis of Humanity
United Theological College, Sydney
Speakers: Prof Ernst Conradie and Prof Clive Hamilton
Australian Association of Mission Studies Conference, Sydney
Mission in a Globalised World: A New Vision for Christian
Discipleship (including Ecology and Mission)
AngliGreen Camp 17 & 18 September at Eprapah Scout Camp,
Cnr Cleveland-Redland Bay Road and Colburn Ave, Victoria Point.
Cost including all meals will be approximately $20-35 per person. Less for part-time attendance. For more information contact Judy Seymour on 3203 4193.
Exhibition: Large embroidered tapestry: Canticle of the Universe
30 August – 17 September, ACU Gallery, Banyo
Inspired by Sr Sheila Flynn OP, following cultural historian and geologian, Thomas Berry and mathematical cosmologist, Brian Swimme, South African women of Kopanang community have embroidered a 35m tapestry. This is a religious hymn in stunning embroidery and it has the potential to call us all towards renewed environmental commitment.
The Exhibition, with free entry, continues from 9am till 5pm on week days at
1100 Nudgee Road or by transport from Toombul station.
For more information contact Margaret Moore on 3870 9427
Threatened Species Planting 2011
Aug 20/21 Sept 3/4 Sept 17/18
Come and join other enthusiastic people experience the fun and sense of community as we work to secure a future for threatened species like:
Please bring your friends to swell the numbers even more!
Bush dance Saturday night, Wildflower walk on Sunday
RSVP and more info: Ray Thomas
Cross Cultural Spring Festival
Saturday, 24 September 2011
10 – 4pm
Koornang Uniting Church, 117 Murrumbeena Rd, MURRUMBEENA
Food, arts & crafts, kids fun, music & dance all day
Everyone is welcome! Bring your congregation, bring your family and bring yourself.
Dress in your traditional costume, or bright spring colours.
Volunteers are needed for children’s seed planting activities.
Contact: Chris Rowntree (03) 9340 8813
God’s Earth, Our Care: Faith for a planet in peril
Saturday 22 October
Centre for Theology and Ministry,
29 College Cres Parkville Melway ref: 2B:D4
Cost: $30 / $20
RSVP and more info: Cath James
An opportunity to explore our understanding of the ecological crisis from a faith perspective and how we as the Uniting Church can meaningfully respond.
Check out this paper on Church Community Gardens by Dr. Miriam Pepper from UnitingEarthweb:
Season of Creation
Don’t forget it’s the Season of Creation in September!
For four Sundays in September, prior to St Francis of Assisi Day, churches in Australia and across the world join in celebrating with Christ the wonders of creation. In 2011, the Season of Creation includes Forest Sunday, Land Sunday, Wilderness/Outback Sunday and River Sunday. Learn more about the Season of Creation and access resources at www.seasonofcreation.com. This year for the first time, Seasons of the Spirit is producing Season of Creation resources. The Rev Dr Jason John, from Ecofaith in the Mid North Coast Presbytery, has also prepared some terrific resources. Jason’s resources aim to be a little less formal, and draw more on Uniting Church resources than the originals. They also provide some progressive/evolution affirming options, and a generic communion service which can be used on any week. The next issue of the daily Bible reading guide With Love to the World is also focusing on Season of Creation.
And Sustainable September for those in Western Australia.
The Uniting Church synod in WA have produced bible studies and other resources for their Sustainable September.
2011 Calendar Dates:
– September 7th – National Threatened Species Day
– September 25th – Ecumenical Social Justice Sunday
– October – 17th – 23rd – National Water Week
– November 6th – National Day of Prayer for Climate Change
– November 26th – International Buy Nothing Day
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”