St Andrews in Fairfield is one of many Uniting Churches celebrating the ‘Season of Creation’ in September. This year the focus is on the ‘Word in Creation’ which correlates with the Mark series of the church year. Liturgies focus on planet Earth, humanity, sky and mountains throughout the four weeks.
Dr Peter Fensham, first chair of the Australian Environmental Education Association, has had a long association with public environmental action.
Mr Fensham, a congregation member at St Andrew’s in Fairfield, suggests that congregations could add the challenge of individual member action to the worship celebrations in September.
The idea is reminiscent of his time chairing the Victorian Environmental Education Council in the early 1990s.
He said big changes could occur from small actions, an example being: hotels inviting guests not to have all their linen washed daily, a practice that is now standard across Australia.
“It was a wonderful series of worship services last year, but adding this individual action will take our response to the challenge of global warming one big step further,” Mr Fensham said.
He said congregations and individuals could take further action by taking up the Friends of the Earth Green Pledge which follows in the wake of the Pope’s recent Encyclical. It involves choosing five personal actions for one week to reduce your carbon emissions and seek supporting sponsors.
“Australians, through our lifestyle and our overwhelming dependence on fossil fuels for our energy needs, are internationally the highest per capita contributors to atmospheric carbon dioxide – the main contributor to global warming,” Mr Fensham said.
“As members of the Uniting Church in Australia we have a moral responsibility to reduce our ‘carbon footprint‘, in every possible way.
“Many Uniting Church congregations have realised their properties provide an opportunity to contribute to a reduction in this footprint, and in the long run also gain economic benefits. A next step is for individual members and participants to make changes to their lifestyle that lessen their personal footprints.”