A new resource out of the Synod of South Australia explores connections between two crises that have and continue to pose drastic change and threat to life on earth: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
‘Lessons from COVID-19 for the Climate Emergency' comes from the Synod’s Environmental Action Group and is sponsored by Uniting Church Fellowships and Mission Support group in SA. Presenters include Rev Jenni and Rev John Hughes, Ministers at Brougham Place Uniting Church, and Tarlee Leondaris, Covenanting and International Mission Officer for the Synod of SA.
The series of short videos is designed to help congregations and small groups apply insights from the COVID-19 pandemic to the climate crisis and consider a response in their context.
The resource is in two parts. The first explores insights from the pandemic such as the importance of scientific consensus and compassionate responses to disaster, while Part 2 explores Biblical and theological foundations and suggested actions.
In launching the resource, Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer spoke of how insights gained from COVID-19 may inspire us to hope that a coordinated global response to climate change may be possible.
“More than a year after the emergence of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, and as we continue to live with all its impacts, we are grieving – the loss of life, loss of social connection, loss of income and the uncertainty for our future”, said Dr Palmer. “We lament the inequities in our world.”
“[But] we have seen what can be achieved in a very short space of time to address a crisis that threatens us all.”
“We have another crisis we need to face together – the crisis that our whole creation is groaning under the impacts of climate change, pollution, and degradation of our ecosystems. Emerging from the COVID crisis – what will we do?”
“This is a time for us as the Uniting Church to be asking: What do we want our common life to be? As followers of Jesus, what are the values and practices we want to embrace and maintain? How will we bear witness to God’s vision of the reconciliation and renewal of the whole creation?”
Communities engaging with the resource are encouraged to use questions at the end of each video for discussion, making them ideal for use in small group settings.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for further material.
Groups taking up the resource may like to use the following prayer offered at the launch.
A PRAYER FOR THE EARTH
We give you thanks for your beautiful creation.
We give you thanks for the intricate web of life that weaves us together.
We give you thanks for this resource and pray your blessing on all those who use it.
Christ, our Redeemer, forgive us when we exploit and degrade the earth.
Forgive us when we consume more than we need,
Forgive us when we greedily use the earth’s resources, while others are living in poverty and lack the basic necessities of life.
As people around our nation, gather in groups to reflect on the themes raised in this resource,
renew your vision within us of a world in which we love our neighbours, share equitably all the gifts of the earth, and live in harmony with all creation.
Holy Spirit, Life giver,
May we be bearers of your liberating hope.
Sustain us as we participate in God’s reconciliation and the renewal of the whole earth.
Dr Deidre Palmer