Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Uniting for Climate

More than a thousand people from across the Uniting Church took to the streets joining more than 300,000 people all over Australia as part of the Global Climate Strike on Friday 20 September.

Huge crowds of people, young and old, spilled onto the streets in more than 100 locations across the nation in an historic show of support for stronger action on the climate crisis.

They were joined by millions of others at similar events all over the world.

UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer thanked all those connected with the Uniting Church who participated or supported through prayer or action.

“The Uniting Church was a visible presence at many of these events, reflecting our long-standing commitment to voice our concern for the well-being of all God’s creation,” said Dr Palmer.

“We are thankful and inspired by the younger generation for their leadership, courage and mobilisation of this unprecedented call to action.” 

Australian organisers of the School Strike for Climate, inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, have described the rallies as a “historic show of community support” demonstrating “deep concern and desire for government action to address the climate crisis”.   

The number of attendees was more than double the previous rallies held six months ago in March 2019.

This time round, the young people leading the march invited the wider community to join them, an invitation that was widely taken up, with the Uniting Church throwing its support behind the young people alongside businesses, unions and many others at the march, including office workers, parents, grandparents and more.

The global action called for:

  • policies which support 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • no new coal, oil and gas projects
  • a just transition and job creation for workers impacted by climate change and mitigation efforts

People from across every UCA Synod, the Assembly and from Uniting Church agencies and schools marched together in locations all over the country with many meeting ahead of the rallies for a time of prayer and worship.

At a service held at Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney ahead of the rally in The Domain, Rev. Alimoni Taumoepeau delivered an inspiring message as part of a Communion service.

“Why do I join the Climate Strike?” Rev. Taumoepeau said. “God gave me—and us all—the responsibility to take care of this world, not to destroy it.”

NSW/ACT General Secretary Rev. Jane Fry closed the service in prayer.

“Take your tough-minded love and walk together for the sake of this glorious, groaning creation,” she said. “Take your fainting hearts and join your hands with your sisters and brothers who share this earth.”

“Take your infuriated optimism and raise your voices together so all may hear the cry of the earth.”

As well as turning out to climate action events, Uniting Church members and congregations have supported the call to action in different ways, such as posting signs or ringing church bells. Thank you to all of those who promoted the march in every Synod.

The Climate Strike took place ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York this week which aimed to bring world leaders together to accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

In an impassioned address, Thunberg criticised world leaders for not doing enough.

The Uniting Church has joined with Churches around the world in calling for stronger commitments from developed nations.

If you’re interested in staying connected to what the Uniting Church is doing on climate change, you might like to join the Working for Justice Circle.