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
St Luke’s is very pleased to welcome Reverend Paul Stephens to our congregation as Minister of the Word, and his wife Jenny and children Emma, James and David. Paul’s first service of worship will be this Sunday the 18th of February at 9:30am – the first Sunday of Lent.
A message from Paul
Thank you for the warmth and energy that marked the service of induction last Sunday.
I am most appreciative of the many ways in which people have sought to make Jenny and I welcome; and also acquaint us with the life and ministry of the congregation.
I look forward to sharing with you in worship, witness and service.
Paul was born in Portsmouth, England and came to Australia in the mid-1960s when his family immigrated as “ten pound poms.”
He grew up in Lara and completed his secondary education at St. Joseph’s College, Newtown. He was amongst the first graduates from Deakin University receiving a degree in Science. He then worked for a few years as an industrial chemist before being accepted as a candidate for ordained ministry.
Paul for nine years was minister within the Bairnsdale Parish, and for fifteen years served at Wesley, Geelong where he was also the director of the Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment. For the last eight years he has been Presbytery Minister for Mission and Education within the Presbytery of Yarra Yarra and was seconded in 2017 by the Synod to convene the Presbytery Transition Team.
Paul enjoys walking, cycling and reading.
He is married to Jenny, a registered nurse who hails from Leongatha. They have three adult children: Emma, James and David.