It is clear to me that many people across the Uniting Church are concerned about the impacts of climate change, and have been supportive of the various efforts to raise this attention in the public arena. The Climate Strike this week is the latest such enterprise, and we should be supporting it. In addition, we need to ensure that we do everything we can to change our way of living to reduce our impact on the environment.
When the Synod of NSW.ACT met in July, it agreed by consensus to support the School Student Climate Strike on 20 September, and others like it. Synod comprises people from towns and cities right across NSW and the ACT, from every Congregation and Presbytery of the UCA. I was very proud, as a member of the Synod, to see the clear message given by the younger members of Synod, and the strong support across all members.
The precise resolution is:
SYNOD CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION STRATEGY
That the Synod
(i) Develops a Synod-wide Climate Action Strategy to reduce carbon emissions across all levels councils and agencies of the Church and to advocate to the Federal, State Governments and Local
Councils to take decisive steps to reduce our emissions nationally.
(ii) Supports initiatives taken by young people in advocating for action on climate change, including the global climate strikes.
You can find this on page 5 of the Minutes at https://nswact.uca.org.au/media/7536/synod-2019-minutes-final.pdf
I blogged about it at the time at https://johntsquires.com/2019/07/09/advocacy-and-climate-change-growth-and-formation-treaty-with-first-peoples-synod-2019/
and my colleague Amy Junor provided a fine reflection on the set of issues involved in confronting climate change, at https://johntsquires.com/2019/07/19/climate-change-a-central-concern-in-contemporary-ministry/
The widespread support for this decision, both at Synod and in discussions subsequent to this meeting, is quite striking. In my experience, this crosses generations, political leanings, and theological commitments.
The Moderator has written an article, published by Eternity News, which articulates the theological underpinnings for supporting this strike, which you can read at https://www.eternitynews.com.au/current/why-the-uniting-church-supports-students-striking-for-climate-change/
A Synod media release was issued on 26 August, at https://nswact.uca.org.au/communications/newsroom/media-release-uniting-church-the-first-to-endorse-the-climatestrike-movement/
A strong statement has been issued in support of the strike from the Head of Newington College, a UCA school in Sydney, at https://massmail.fi.net.au/t/ViewEmail/j/CE89880F76CEFA0D2540EF23F30FEDED/F4747CB15B40540BF99AA49ED5AF8B9E
Common Grace has provided a clear explanation of the issues involved at https://www.commongrace.org.au/im_rallying_for
Vivian Harris provides clear testimony about the impact of persistent protest at https://climateactionbega.blogspot.com/2019/09/persistent-presence.html
and The Conversation explains how participation in such an event can motivate stronger action for change at https://theconversation.com/why-attending-a-climate-strike-can-change-minds-most-importantly-your-own-122862
These links provide us with a clear understanding as to why the Uniting Church has been such a strong advocate for participation in this strike and why we are joining with school children and concerned citizens around the world to participate in this strike.
My wife Elizabeth Raine has written some helpful reflections on environmental theology at
and a series of blogs on living a life with low environmental impact, at
and a lot more at https://elementcityblog.com (follow the links on the right of the page)
For my other blogs on the environment, see