Uniting Church swings behind multi-faith push for climate justice

Uniting Church swings behind multi-faith push for climate justice

The President of the Uniting Church in Assembly, Ms Sharon Hollis, has signed an open letter to Prime Minister Albanese advocating for climate justice policies, along with over ninety other Australian, First Nations and Pacific high-level leaders from diverse faiths.

On the morning of its publication, Thursday 13 October at 9.30 am, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta will host a multi-faith service in support of their calls for an end to approvals for new coal and gas projects and to public subsidies for fossil fuel industries. 

The service will feature Buddhist and Muslim chanting, congregational singing led by a Rabbi, meditation and prayers from a range of traditions. Supporters of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, who are organising the event, are looking forward to the participation of a student Chamber Ensemble from Our Lady of Mercy College.

Rev Meredith Williams, who serves the Uniting Church congregation in Wentworthville, will also lead a Vigil the evening before from 8 until 11 pm. Prayers, meditation and chanting will be shared in the ‘Chapel’ at the same venue.

People of all faiths and none will be welcome to attend.

Similar events are being held across Australia and the Pacific in a day of action showing grassroots endorsement the open letter.

The signatories are concerned that Australia ‘profits from exports that are causing the climate crisis’. They believe the new Government should fully respect the rights of First Nations peoples to protect their Country, and that Australia should re-start contributions to the United Nations climate finance. The latter had lapsed under the previous government, despite it being an agreed obligation under the Paris Accord.

Signatories are also calling for support for an international Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The proposed Treaty reflects a growing global concern that the continued production and export of fossil fuels is overpowering any gains made by the nation-by-nation pursuit of emissions reduction targets. 

In July, Pope Francis publicly declared his support for the Treaty. His spokesperson, Cardinal Michael Czerny, said, ‘Pope Francis again joins scientists in holding to the Paris Agreement’s temperature increase goal of 1.5°C. The planet already is 1.2°C hotter, yet new fossil fuel projects every day accelerate our race towards the precipice. Enough is enough. All new exploration and production of coal, oil, and gas must immediately end.’

In mid-September, the Treaty received public support from the World Health Organisation, the World Federation of Public Health Associations and nearly 200 other medical bodies.

Advocates of the Treaty seek to influence the United Nations COP27 climate talks, to be held next month in Egypt. 

The multi-faith services and all-night vigils are a rare display of unity among people of diverse faiths. They are part of a global faith campaign known as ‘Faiths 4 Climate Justice’, in which actions are being organised in over 40 countries during the lead-up to COP27.

For details of the Multi-Faith Service at St Patrick’s Cathedral, follow this link.

Thea Ormerod, President, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Photo Credit: Petero Lalagavivi_FB

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