Pushing the pedals to worship

Pushing the pedals to worship

Religious communities across Australia will leave their cars at home and cycle or walk to worship during Ride to Worship Week, from October 5 to 11.

Ride to Worship Week is an initiative of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).

ARRCC President Thea Ormerod said the event, which is now in its third year, is an opportunity for religious groups to do something positive about climate change.

“All religions agree we have a responsibility to protect the vitality of life on Earth. Cycling or walking reduces petrol use and protects the environment. Just think of the difference Australia’s religions could make if everyone who could committed to cycling or walking to their religious activities instead of driving,” Ms Ormerod said.

People from approximately 40 religious communities across Australia, including from Christian, Buddhist, and Sikh groups, and from in almost every state and territory of Australia, have registered their participation in Ride to Worship Week 2012.

A member of Living Faith Church in Greensborough, Melbourne, Marguerite Marshall, has taken part in the initiative since it began and believes the awareness is growing.

She said, “Caring for the environment is vital for all and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to spread this message with practical action.”

Ms Ormerod’s church, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish Kingsgrove, Sydney, will also be taking part.

Ms Ormerod says there were health as well as environmental benefits.

“Cycling also improves our physical and mental health and reduces the risk of life threatening illnesses including heart disease, obesity and diabetes.”

Ride to Worship Week is not only about how people get to and from their religious activities. The last two years have also seen communities celebrate the day in various creative ways.

“There have been shared meals, activities for children, environmentally-themed worship, a blessing of the bikes and even a remembrance ceremony for people who have died or been injured in cycling accidents.

“As well as encouraging communities to be mindful of their transport choices, ARRCC also invites groups to celebrate their participation in Ride to Worship Week in their own ways,” Ms Ormerod said.

ARRCC is a multi-faith organisation committed to taking action on climate change, and which works with faith groups to take practical action to help create an ecologically sustainable and just future.

For information and resources about how to get involved as an individual or as a group, visit the Ride to Worship website.

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