Caring for Creation
March 28, 2022
By Doug Hewitt – Working for Justice Panel Member
Addressing Climate Change in response to God’s generosity in creation - two stories:
For two decades the Social Justice Committee of The Hunter Presbytery has encouraged members of congregations to actively pursue greater care of God’s marvellous creation.
An early opportunity was provided in the conference Greening the Church held in 2008, when Rev Dr Norman Habel was invited as the guest speaker to introduce the Season of Creation to all churches in the Hunter region. The Presbytery committee shared with the ecumenical and environment commissions from other churches to organise the one-day session which attracted over 100 people. Norman Habel used the theme of Psalm 96: “All the trees of the forest sing for joy,” to encourage group discussion on celebrating creation.
The afternoon was given to a series of workshops, repeated to enable participants to experience at least two initiatives. They included a local school with a self-sufficient garden, a church which was restoring a weed-infested gully and harvesting rainwater, Fair Trade as a means of caring for creation, Pacific Calling – a global response to climate change, and the “The Sixth Day” - a play by children on caring for God’s creation in our daily lives. All those attending were encouraged to take these examples back to their own communities for reflection and action.
From 2015 the Hunter Ecumenical Social Justice Commission (Anglican, Catholic and Uniting) began the annual Give Us a Sign campaign for one month each year. In 2018 the theme was Caring for Creation, with churches encouraged to use their noticeboards to display a different message each week in September, which is the Season of Creation. Sample signs were suggested: We are all responsible for Earth’s Flourishing, There is No Planet B, End Climate Devastation, Current Lifestyles are not Sustainable, and a series of relevant Biblical verses. These themes were to be the focus for worship on each of these four Sundays.
(Photo of Hamilton Uniting Church noticeboard is above)