Berry Uniting Church Wins Inaugural Climate Activism Award
On Sunday 31 October, Berry Uniting Church was presented with the Five Leaf Eco-Awards’ inaugural Climate Activism Award, along with the Basic Certificate and Eco-Worship Award. These awards recognise their commitment to action and advocacy for the environment.
The new award is open to all churches. It recognises and encourage churches to advocate for climate action in their communities, and to local politicians.
Berry Uniting Church’s advocacy includes participating in the ‘Sacred People, Sacred Earth Rally’ and ringing their bell to sound the climate alarm in March, and the ‘Faiths 4 Climate’ Day of Action in October. The congregation also installed a new banner on the church to declare their concern about climate change. Congregation members have also met with their local MP.
The congregation has also taken practical actions, including completing an energy audit, installing energy efficient lighting, switching to Greenpower, implementing paper saving measures, a beeswax wrap making workshop, Season of Creation services, and installing solar panels.
John Brentnall received the awards on behalf of the church.
“It has been a long journey but I’m proud and absolutely thrilled that our little faith community has achieved so much and been rewarded with these Five Leaf Eco Awards,” Mr Brentnall said.
The awards were presented virtually by Five Leaf Eco-Awards Director, Jessica Morthorpe. On presenting the awards, Ms Morthorpe said she was encouraged by Berry Uniting Church’s long commitment to advocacy on climate change.
“We need many more churches to do the same,” she said.
“After all, this is the greatest moral issue of our time. Thankfully, love of our Creator God and love of neighbour is indeed pushing many churches into taking action. We hope many of these churches will apply for our new award, so we can encourage them on the journey and connect them with other churches taking action.”
In addition to the award presentation, the service included prayers for a successful COP26 meeting. “We just don’t have any more time to waste,” Ms Morthorpe says.
The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are an ecumenical environmental change initiative for Australian churches and religious organisations founded in 2008 to assist, inspire and reward churches for environmental action. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are non- competitive, with churches completing task from a list of flexible criteria to earn each certificate. There are currently seven awards of varying difficulty available. The Five Leaf Eco-Awards operate nationally and across denominations.
More information on the Five Leaf Eco-Awards is available on their official website.