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CLIMATE CHANGE: NEW KIT TO HELP AUSTRALIAN CHURCHES IN A TIME OF “UNDERAPPRECIATED ECOLOGICAL CRISIS”

DAVID ADAMS reports…

A new online kit has been launched to help Australian churches engage with the issue of climate change.

The Christian Climate Change Action Kit, which was launched in Sydney in mid-June, contains a step-by-step guide to help churches educate their community about how to take action on climate change, both collectively and as individuals.

The Christian Climate Change Action Kit will be followed by those for people of other religious faiths.

“We’re a bit out of touch with what the ecological crises really mean…Even short term they’re going to start compromising our ability to live on the planet if we’re not careful.”

– Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

It comes with a series of tools – including prayers, sermons and links to other online resources – which focus on the issues involved and can be incorporated into church life.

The kit is the work of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), a multi-faith, member-based organisation created about five years ago with the twin aims of promoting “ethical, environmentally sustainable, healthy and contented lifestyles which respect the Earth’s precious natural resources” and advocating, from a faith perspective, for public policies “which contribute to climate justice”.

Members include both individuals and organisations. Among the latter are Caritas Australia, Uniting Care NSW/ACT, the Environmental Working Group of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Hindu Council of Australia, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and the Union for Progressive Judaism.

Thea Ormerod, president of the ARRCC, says the ARRCC is about helping religious communities “connect up the dots between their own faith and looking after the earth”.

“Just as we are caring towards other people on the earth, (it’s) being caring towards the earth itself…in order for life to continue on earth and particularly (for) poor people who are so dependent on eco-systems for their survival.”

The Christian Climate Change Action Kit, which can be downloaded from the ARRCC website for free (although donations are appreciated), is the first in a series of kits to be issued in the coming year. Others will be aimed at people in the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist faiths.

“It’s very much the same thing but speaking to their theological traditions; using examples which…people can relate to from those traditions,” says Ms Ormerod.

She says the Christian kit, which it is intended will be updated in the future, provides help for churches on how to integrate care for the earth in the worship, liturgy and operations of churches as well as how to join with local or national environmental advocacy groups.

“Just making it part of the whole way we go about things. It’s not just switching to green power, although that’s a really good thing to do.”

While some churches are already implementing the advice contained in the kit, many are not yet responding to the “underappreciated ecological crisis that we’re in,” says Ms Ormerod.

“We’re a bit out of touch with what the ecological crises really mean…Even short term they’re going to start compromising our ability to live on the planet if we’re not careful.”

www.arrcc.org.au/climate-action-kit 

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