Today we farewelled an iconic Moreton Bay Fig tree that has stood on the corner of the St Luke’s property for many years. The decision to take it down has been really hard – St Luke’s has a proud history of caring for our environment.
In the last 12 months several branches have fallen during windy conditions, and the roots are making it increasingly difficult for City of Greater Geelong to keep the footpath safe for the increasing numbers going past. We sought advice from an arborist, landscape architect, and consulted with the City of Greater Geelong – all agreed with the final decision. To quote our landscape architect who admired the tree “unfortunately it is the wrong tree in the wrong place.”
As our carpark needs resurfacing to fix a number of hazards that have developed, we have taken the opportunity to redesign the whole corner with assistance from a local landscape architect to:
Introduce a native rain garden on the verge to help manage the water run off from the car park
Plan a range of new native trees and shrubs around the edges of the carpark to offer shade, animal habitat, and not impede traffic visibility at the roundabout
Incorporate trees into the carpark itself to provide shade and reduce urban heat
You will see lots happening in the coming months, as we work to continue to upgrade our site to be a great resource for our local community and the many users who come from across the region to participate in the many groups who use our buildings.
The Justice and International Mission Cluster is asking you to be part of a taskforce on climate change action. The taskforce’s purpose is to identify, encourage and support the implementation of measures across the Synod to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. To lodge an expression of interest, contact Mark Zirnsak at email@example.com or on 0409 166 915 by October 28.
Here’s a quick update regarding these ministry and mission teams.
Mission Outreach Ministry Team
The team is not meeting monthly but rather staying in touch via the phone.
Material support for refugees is still available but now happening by appointment and with contactless pickup.
Bread deliveries are not happening at the moment as Ken has “retired” as the organiser. This wonderful connecting ministry has been deeply appreciated by many refugee families over the years and we are grateful for all the volunteers who have helped to make it happen. There is certainly an opportunity for another leader to take up this ministry, should you feel a call and have a van – though we will need to navigate our way through protocols needed to keep everyone safe during the COVID19 pandemic.
Environment Action Group
Is not meeting monthly but group members are keeping in touch with one another and doing what online action that they can
Recycling can still be dropped off at the church during open times
Repair Cafe is suspended until it is safe for groups to meet again
This week’s worship online is presented by Paul and the St Luke’s Environment Action Team. Thanks to Claire, Ian, Michelle, Jean and Lloyd for working with Paul to prepare this thoughtful devotion, and thanks to everyone who contributed photos and footage – featured at the end of today’s video.
O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thorn bush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.
– Walter Rauschenbusch
You can watch today’s online worship here:
The hymn “All things bright and beautiful” is included within today’s service, but if you are looking for another tune for today, here’s “This pretty planet”:
If you would like to explore ideas of biodiversity and our faithful response, you might like to check out the Faith Ecology Network here: https://www.faithecology.net.au/
What position should the Synod take in response to climate change?
The Synod of Victoria and Tasmania meetings have passed resolutions relevant to climate change since 1977. However, the last resolution of a Synod meeting that directly addressed the issue of climate change was in 2008. Members of the Synod congregations have been expressing greater concern to the Justice and International Mission (JIM) cluster that the Synod needs to play a more significant role in responding to climate change. The JIM cluster believes there is a need for the Synod to update its position on the urgency of addressing the causes of climate change and the actions that need to be taken in response.
The consultation paper that can be downloaded from this page explores how serious is the threat of climate change. Based on the assessment of the danger, the paper explores what actions we as Australians should be taking as part of the global effort to respond to climate change. It proposes a position for the Synod to adopt at the next Synod meeting.
The St Luke’s Environment Group are growing seedlings of herbs, veggies and flowers for the bushfire victims to start their gardens and add a bit of colour. Jean Daw is going to Bairnsdale end March for starters, with a load for the victims in that area. All pots to be at St Luke’s 11am Sat 21st March to be loaded in her car. We may have more going to other areas as well.
If you are interested in helping, please see one of the Environment Group – Claire, Michelle, Jean, Jenny, Ian A, Ian L, Phil.
The bread tags you are putting into the Recycling Bay in our foyer are being made into seedling trays. The proceeds are used to provide wheelchairs for the needy in South Africa. “ Bread Tags for Wheelchairs” has been running in South Africa since 2006. At present about 500kg of bread tags are collected per month in South Africa, funding 2-3 wheelchairs.
The plastic bottle tops from milk and fruit juice can be recycled also. We will drop them off at Encompass Community Services. They are then taken to Envision Hands who create bespoke aids out of the bottle caps with 3D printers, which are then donated to children in need.
For many years, Cath James has worked on issues of environmental justice and spirituality on our behalf for the Uniting Church VicTas Synod. This is taken from an email update Cath sent through to people on her list.
“It’s with a mixture of emotions that I’m writing to let you know I’m finishing up with the Justice and International Mission Unit. As you know, the Uniting Church Synod operations has been undergoing a period of re-structuring and out of this process, I’ve decided to move on and have accepted a redundancy.
The restructuring process has resulted in an exciting new Unit called ‘equipping Leadership for Mission’ (eLM) which will carry forward the mission work of the Uniting Church including the social justice and environment work. What that looks like is still to emerge over this coming year, but the justice work will now be part of a new team called Priorities, Focus and Advocacy and includes a range of focused ministries with children, young people, families, multi-cultural churches, the arts as well as new and renewed communities of faith. It will be great to have these aspects of the church’s work integrated with the social justice and environment work.
I want to particularly thank you for all you have done – small and large as part of the church’s work on justice, environment and climate change. From the days of the Earth Team through to now, so much has happened thanks to the efforts of people like yourselves. I feel so humbled and grateful for your faithfulness and your desire and willingness to work for a better world.
My last day in the office will be Friday 23 February.
I hope you enjoy the Update below.
Climate Petition Update
During the first Parliamentary sitting week of 2018, nineteen more of our petitions were tabled in Parliament.
The Chair of the Petitions Committee, Lucy Wicks MP, said: “Today I present the 19th report of the Petitions Committee for the 45th Parliament … This report is the largest petitions report for this parliament, indicating what a busy time it’s been for the committee over the last few months and, indeed, over the past year. Our records show that, over the last 10 years, an average of 137 petitions have been presented each year. In contrast, last year the committee received around 550 petitions. Approximately half of these were paper petitions, many of which were part of two large-scale campaigns that spanned communities all around the country, communities that care deeply about the issues the petitions raised.”
One of the ‘two large-scale campaigns’ she mentions is, of course, our Community Climate Petition. It’s great to see another indication of the notice our campaign has generated.
The petitions tabled were from Bradfield, Brisbane, Calare, Casey, Cook, Cunningham, Durack, Grayndler, Herbert, Hindmarsh, Hughes, Indi, Isaacs, Jagajaga, Page, Pearce, Stirling, Sturt and Wentworth.
Big kudos and appreciative thanks to everyone who devoted their time and energy into mustering up these petitions!
Resources for Churches
Lent Event – Stories from the Pacific This year’s Lent Event resource from Uniting World includes some videos exploring Pacific stories. They’re strong and beautiful narratives. This one from Tuvalu is about the impact of changing climate. Storms, drought and changing sea temperatures make daily life a struggle for survival. Rev Tafue and the local church in Tuvalu share hope and practical skills that save lives.
Reflections on Creation
This series of reflections from Fr. Richard Rohr on Creation would make a great series of bible studies. They are also great for individual reflection too.
The Centre for Ecology and Spirituality in Glenburn have a great line up of events for 2018 encouraging contemplation and connection to the earth.
‘I look out of this window and I think this is a cosmos, this is a huge creation, this is one small corner of it. The trees and birds and everything else and I’m part of it. I didn’t ask to be put here, I’ve been lucky in finding myself here.’
– Morris West