The Uniting Church’s Justice International Mission (JIM) is urging Synod to update its position on the urgency of addressing the causes of climate change and it is seeking support from all congregations. Their report summarises the scientific evidence that shows that climate change is already causing severe harm to the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe and outlines what actions we as Australians should be taking as part of the global effort to respond to the crisis; see https://justact.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2020/05/Climate-change-consultation-paper-2020.pdf
It is a long report, but the hope of the JIM is that congregation members will at least read the executive summary section and reflect on what position the Synod should take on human-induced climate change and what action we should take. Paraphrasing some of the questions it asks of us, the following seem key:
1. How serious a threat do you think climate change is to global well-being?
2. Do you see climate change as an issue of Global justice, stewardship or ecotheology?
3. Should the Synod call a ‘climate emergency and what are the implications?
4. Do the actions of other governments have an impact on how much effort we should call on the Australian Government to take? If so, what do you believe that impact is?
5. Do you agree that the Synod should call for no new coal mines and no expansion of existing coal mines?
6. Do you agree that the Synod should call for no Government support for new coal-fired power stations? Should this position be made stronger? If so, in what way?
7. Should the proposal to the Synod meeting say something about natural gas developments? If so, what should be said?
Like many churches, Manningham Uniting Church is not content to meet on a Sunday morning for worship and go our separate ways. We see how Jesus walked amongst the injustice of his time and how he responded, touching those who were deemed unclean, eating with those who were deemed sinners. As a Uniting Church congregation, we seek to learn from others about the injustice they experience, and we listen intently to the sighs of creation. Our involvement in this climate change discussion is not just born out of concern for the planet and the future of the species inhabiting it, it is motivated by our faith in God and through following the example of Jesus.
These are big issues, but MUC, as a broadly intergenerational congregation with a proactive missional agenda, needs to be savvy on these important issues and well able to provide constructive input to Synod.
So please come along to a zoom discussion on 23 June 7-8pm to hear our two fantastic pre-eminent speakers, MUC’s own Dr Mark Zirnsak, author of the paper and Dr Chris Dalton, eco theologian and member of the Synod ethics committee. They will give us the background we need to be informed on this critical issue of our time.
Your opinion is important and the church need to hear it.