A New Season of Caring
Uniting Church members will join Christians around Australia and across the world in acts of worship and advocacy to promote care for all creation throughout the month of September.
Assembly President Dr Deidre Palmer is encouraging UCA members to take part in the month-long ecumenical celebration, Season of Creation, as an opportunity to reflect theologically and to take actions that will lead to a more sustainable planet for future generations.
“As the Uniting Church, we believe we are connected to all God’s creation and we have a commitment to work towards sustainable and non-exploitative living,” said Dr Palmer.
“Our world is gravely threatened by climate change, and it is our responsibility to act to limit the worst impacts and stand in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us the importance of creative and collaborative leadership and presents a unique opportunity to reset the agenda with an economic recovery that is good for all people and for the planet.” (Read more in our Build Back Better statement)
Dr Palmer encouraged Uniting Church congregations to do three things:
- Participate in Season of Creation through worship and actions. (See Resources below.)
- Join the next Schools 4 Climate Action on 25 September.
- Connect with other Christians, faith groups and projects in the wider community that bring about more sustainable solutions for our planet. See some suggestions below.
The Assembly Working for Justice Circle Advocate Rev. Loni Vaitohi also encouraged Uniting Church congregations to use the Season of Creation to think about climate justice, especially for our neighbours in the Pacific where climate change is most clearly felt.
“As a Pacific Islander, I say to our Government, and to all Australians, please do not be burdened with our plea,” said Rev. Vaitohi.
“We Pacific Islanders are not asking for your riches, your treasures or your wisdom. We are simply pleading with you, let us live.”
Tertiary Chaplain at Charles Sturt University and Growing in Faith Circle member Rev. Tau’alofa Anga’aelangi elaborates on the Pacific way of thinking.
“In Tonga, and other parts of Pasifika, fonua (land) is the ground, land, earth, the womb, one’s identity, place of origin, and moana is the ocean.”
“The land and ocean are interdependent, not limited nor confined to space and place because they are vast, they expand, and are alive.
“Therefore, the whole earth community, is on a vocation, to tend and care for God’s Creation.”
Students including groups like Christian Students Uniting are calling on the wider community to again support their push for climate action.
The key ask from the young leaders is to “Fund our Future not Gas”, an appeal for the Australian Government to prioritise sustainable industries in the rebuilding of the economy as opposed to investing in another fossil fuel. People are encouraged to take part in local events or online actions. Read more
In September 2019, more than a thousand people from across the Uniting Church took to the streets joining more than 300,000 people all over Australia as part of the Global Climate Strike.
Season of Creation is celebrated by Christians all over the world across many denominations. Here are some resources:
Season of Creation Resources
Weekly Liturgical Resources: produced in Australia: https://seasonofcreation.com/
- September 1 – Creation Day
- September 6 – 1st Sunday in Creation – Forest Sunday
- September 13 – 2nd Sunday in Creation – Land Sunday
- September 20 – 3rd Sunday in Creation – Wilderness/Outback Sunday
- September 27 – 4th Sunday in Creation – River Sunday
- October 1 – St Francis of Assisi Day – Blessings of the Animals
Pacific Conference of Churches: Five WeekLiturgical Resource with activity suggestions from the Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice team (insert link to PF)
World Council of Churches:
- A list of international resources for Season of creation – https://www.oikoumene.org/en/what-we-do/climate-change/time-for-creation
- Toolkit to empower churches to work with children and youth for climate justice – www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/publications/WCCClimateJusticeToolkit.pdf
- Webinar series: Churches on the road to an economy of life and ecological justice – https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/webinar-series-churches-on-the-road-to-an-economy-of-life-and-ecological-justice
International Ecumenical Website: https://seasonofcreation.org/
UnitingEarth: A collection of worship resources, video reflections, all ages reflections, and liturgies. https://www.unitingearth.org.au/worship/
Other things you can do:
- Climate FEST: Join Christian Students Uniting this Sunday 30 August for their online climate festival about everyday climate actions we can take : https://www.facebook.com/events/1215230392151241/
- Support the Schools Strike for Climate: take part in an online or local action on 25 September https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/buildourfuture
- Christians Together for Climate: Advocacy campaign with Common Grace and TEAR. https://www.commongrace.org.au/christians_together_for_climate
- Living the Change: Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) resource for making a personal commitment to live more sustainably with examples of what faith organisations have done https://www.arrcc.org.au/living_the_change
- Watch ABC’s Fight for Planet A: and read other stories about how we can reduce our individual and collective carbon emissions. https://www.abc.net.au/your-planet/