KIPPAX UNITING CHURCH: LISTENING TO THE VOICE OF CREATION
The Kippax congregation has been celebrating the Season of Creation for almost 10 years but this year’s theme, Listen to the Voice of Creation, inspired us to do things a little differently in 2022. Because it seems to us that the Voice of Creation is crying out to take urgent and meaningful action on climate change and its impact on the whole created order.
In Week 1, Rev Dr Ockert Myer observed “that inexplicable thing that permeates all of creation and all of life, that inexplicable thing that Job longed for, that Luther longed for, that all of us long for,” is grace. “And this grace, Job discovered, is revealed in the crevasses of creation itself – from the springs of the sea or the songs of the stars.”
Ms Alison Weeks, Chair of the Catholic Archdiocesan Caring for Creation Movement in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, spoke to us in Week 2 about the Pope’s climate encyclical, Laudato Si’ which means Praise Be to You! The subtitle of the encyclical is On Care For Our Common Home, and represents “a seismic shift in the nature of Catholic encyclicals and the concerns of the Church.” Alison outlined the seven goals of Laudato Si’:
1. the Cry of Earth
2. the Cry of the Poor
3. Ecological Economics
4. Simple Lifestyles
5. Ecological Education
6. Ecological Spirituality; and
7. Community Involvement and Participation.
The Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese has signed up to this platform, and has committed itself to developing an action plan to implement these goals.
I was struck by the simplicity of just one line in the encyclical: “Purchasing is always a moral act – not simply an economic one.” It’s one we have repeated each subsequent week at Kippax.
As I planned out the Season, I reflected that taking action on climate change is one of the places where faith and politics meet. The Christian Church has a unique perspective to bring to dialogue around climate because we believe that God at the centre of everything. Yet the reality is that meaningful change has to occur in the political realm. And so for Week 3 we invited Karen Middleton, Press Gallery Journalist of the Year and member of the Kippax congregation, to talk to us about climate policy in the light of a change of government. Karen gave us an overview of climate policies since 2007. We were reminded that Kevin Rudd introduced legislation for a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, legislation that was rejected in the Senate with the help of the Greens because it didn’t go far enough.
As we know, last month, the Albanese government’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction legislation passed, this time with the support of the Greens who insisted that the new legislation says the target is a cut of at least 43%, leaving room for more. ACT Senator, David Pocock, won support for some amendments including strengthening the advisory role of the Climate Change Authority. Voting against the amended bill was the Liberal-National Coalition, the two One Nation Senators and the United Australia Party Senator. Tasmanian Liberal, Bridget Archer crossed the floor to vote for it.
While there is a long way to go, it seems that the Albanese government is beginning to take meaningful action in response to climate change, and there are signs that this will continue.
At the same time as we Listen to the Voice of Creation, we felt it was critical to hear the voice of those who will be most affected by the warming of the climate – our young people. So in the final week of the Season of Creation young people from the Kippax congregation were invited to tell the congregation how they felt about climate change. Sam (aged 10) created a video of him interviewing people at BILT, our intergenerational worship community. Most of those interviewed (all under 40) told us they were worried about climate change and the future of the planet, and want we adults to do whatever we can to reduce the warming of our planet. We also heard from Luke who, rather than worrying about the future, has faith that what we do now will form the groundwork for a positive future for our planet.
 Alison Weeks, Presentation on Laudato Si’, 11 September 2022
 Laudato Si’ 206.