Adamstown’s Climate Response
Located at the heart of Australia’s coal capital, a Uniting Church is taking more steps to respond to the threat of climate change.
In a video uploaded to Adamstown Uniting Church’s Vimeo page, Rev. Dr Rod Pattenden details a number of changes the congregation has made over the last twelve months.
The church’s climate change response is a multi-layered approach that ranges from the psychological and artistic to practical efforts to curb their carbon emissions. Rev. Dr Pattenden says that it’s part of a ‘holistic way of thinking, as we worship, as we act, as we build community…as we love God and love our neighbour.”
“Responding to climate change is not just about changing the world in which we live, but also about changing your perceptions,” he said in the video.
“I think it affects the whole of the way you view your reality and also your pictures of God.”
Accordingly, Adamstown Uniting Church invited artists into their space to respond to this. The church also purchased a painting by local artist Andrew Finnie of a ‘Green Jesus’ (pictured) embedded into creation.
The church has created a children’s garden, where children can learn about nurturing creation in a hands on way, growing fruit and vegetables.
Adamstown Uniting Church’s climate response has even carried over to aspects of the church’s liturgy, itself. As an entertaining reminder, Rev. Dr Pattenden has started occasionally wearing a stole that features fruits and vegetables attached, “to remind us that we carry the world”.
The church’s practical response to climate change has included adding a large array of solar panels to its roof, tinting windows on the church building’s western side, and gradually shifting to more efficient lightbulbs.
“Being in Newcastle, which is the coal capital of Australia, we’ve also realised that we’re implicitly involved in relationships that are unfair to others, particularly our Pacific neighbours,” Rev. Dr Pattenden said.
“So each year, we’ve committed some of our resources, financially, and we’ve done fundraising to support projects in the Pacific that are responding to climate change.”
These fundraising efforts include collecting bottles and cans for a return and earn scheme, then donating the proceeds. Each weekend, congregation members hear the rattle of cans as the collection is taken.
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