Uniting Church supports young people’s call for a safer climate and a strong recovery

Uniting Church supports young people’s call for a safer climate and a strong recovery

It’s hard to know exactly how many members of the Uniting Church community-supported last Friday’s School Strike 4 Climate (SS4C) events.  But judging by the photos flooding into Rebecca Beisler, Communications Officer for the Assembly Resourcing Unit, it was a lot.

And members of the Uniting Church community in NSW and the ACT were right in the thick of it.

It was only last year that our Synod resolved to establish a Synod Climate Action Strategy. As part of that we committed to “support initiatives taken by young people in advocating for action of climate change, including the global climate strikes.” Hundreds of Uniting Church folk took part in the SS4C rallies in September last year (80, 000 in Sydney alone) as well as the on-line rally held in May this year.

What happened this time?

Last Friday was the most widespread action yet. Around 630 COVID safe gatherings were held across the country prompting more than 500 newspaper stories and another 300 on radio and TV. This shows many of us got the message our young people have been telling us in their call to Build Our Future Not Gas. Now is a critical time.

You and other supporters got involved in different ways.

As individuals and groups we made our own signs, took pictures of them and posted them on social media. We attended local Build our future gatherings or organised our own and invited others to join. Many of us took part the night before in the multi-church Prayer Vigil, organised by Common Grace. Nearly 50 Uniting Church congregations displayed the new climate themed banners provided by Uniting Mission and Education and Uniting, sharing messages like “Climate Emergency: God didn’t create a Planet B” and “Act on Climate! Leave no one behind”.

And importantly, we sent our messages of support for students and a desire for a safe climate recovery directly to our political decision makers. We tagged our local MPs in social media posts, we turned up at their electoral offices and sent them personal emails and letters.

Rev Rod Pattenden, at Adamstown Uniting Church, wrote to the Newcastle Herald declaring his support for the student’s action and call. “This issue,” he wrote, “brings together my duties as a citizen and my sense of faith. It is time for action toward the common good and our care for creation.”

Click here to see photos of the actions by Uniting Church members last Friday.

What’s next

The latest School Strike 4 Climate event is done. But the work of the Synod Climate Action Strategy continues. The Strategy, alongside the commitment to support young people’s action on climate change, also commits our church to:

  • reduce carbon emissions across all 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.

There are five task groups seeking to put these commitments into action. You can find out about them here.

We are keen to keep sharing information about the Synod Climate Action Strategy and how you can be involved as it develops.  One of the best ways to keep in the loop is to sign up to the Uniting Advocacy team’s e-news. This has information about our work on climate as well as our other campaigns and issues and action alerts. This will be a key vehicle for sharing information about climate and environmental issues from now on. The e-news comes out monthly and we would love you to be a part of it. Sign up here.

Thanks again for your involvement.

Jon O’Brien

Uniting’s Advocacy Team

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