ARRCC calls for stronger climate action
On Thursday 13 October the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) brought together people of all faiths in Australia and around the Pacific to appeal for stronger action on climate. This was part of the international Faiths for Climate Justice movement, in which many Uniting Church congregations and members have participated in recent years.
The events followed the publishing of an open letter to Prime Minister Albanese that was signed by over 100 senior faith leaders, including Uniting Church Assembly President Rev. Sharon Hollis and the Moderator of the NSW and ACT Synod, Rev. Simon Hansford. In the letter faith leaders call on the Australian Government to:
- Stop approving new coal and gas mines or expansions
- End government subsidies for coal and gas projects
- Actively participate in creating an international Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase out fossil fuels
- Fully respect First Nations peoples’ rights to protect Country
- Re-start contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund
- Help workers in extractive industries transition to renewables and prosper in more sustainable jobs.
Prayer and meditation vigils were held at venues around the country the evening before the action. Prominent faith leaders spoke out in the media. On the Thursday hundreds of people gathered in iconic places of worship in the Pacific, in Australian capital cities and around the country to show grass roots support for the message.
In Sydney the multi-faith worship gathering was held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. The service included the calling of the Azan by a Muslim cleric, Acknowledgement of Country led by an Indigenous Elder, Buddhist meditation, a Rabbi chanting from the Hebrew scriptures, the Our Lady of Mercy College string ensemble playing ‘For the beauty of the Earth’, congregational singing, and prayers from a range of faith traditions. Students from three local high schools also led the congregation in a Quaker prayer.
The Uniting Church was represented at Parramatta Cathedral. Rev. Meredith Williams (Wentworthville Uniting Church) coordinated and presided, and Rev. Mosese Taufa (Auburn Uniting Church) led the Christian prayer. Members from several Uniting Church congregations were part of the gathering, which many reported as being both moving and inspiring.
One person who was present sent the following message to ARRCC president, Thea Ormerod:
“Congratulations on a very special event at St Patrick’s today. The service was beautifully organised and went flawlessly. It was a joy to have the different faiths represented in prayer and song, to have the contribution of the school students, and to see everyone working together with goodwill and passion.”
Rev. Meredith Williams, Wentworthville Uniting Church and Uniting Eco Group
Jon O’Brien, Uniting Climate Action Network
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