The Diocesan Environment Commission helps parishes and the Diocese as a whole work to safeguard, sustain, and renew the life of the earth
The role of the commission includes encouraging and inspiring parishioners to become aware of issues affecting our environment and to take responsibility both spiritually and practically so that we can make a difference and move toward a sustainable future.
Quotes expressing the relationship between Nature and Christianity
‘Everything Is Interconnected’: The Trinity and the Natural World in Laudato Si’ – Denis Edwards
- Learning to relate to nature, to birds and trees and animals, is part of coming to ourselves. It is part of an interior conversion. It is also the discovery of who we are, in relation to Earth and its creatures, our human brothers and sisters and God.
A Trinitarian Basis for a ‘Theological Ecology’ in Light of Laudato Si’ – Eugene R. Schlesinger
- It is through the graced action of transformed humanity that the crisis of environmental degradation will be addressed. For it is through the graced action of the Son’s assumed humanity, and the gracious sanctification of the Holy Spirit, that God has reached out to embrace and redeem the entire created order, beginning with humanity.
‘For God so Loved the World’: An Incarnational Ecology – Martha Kirkpatrick
- When we understand ourselves as part of creation, we, Like Job, can learn a new humility that can reveal new insights. An incarnational ecology helps is realise that we stand not above, but in the world, and hence are subject to the earths law’s and must live within it’s limits.
- When we partake of the broad and wine in worship, we are embodying our relationship with Christ and with all materiality. the redemptive promise of the Eucharist empowers us to go forth to do God’s work in the world. Christian liturgy, with its daily and annual cycles that observe the cosmic activity of darkness and light and the passing of seasons, offers rich opportunity to bring our sacramental connection to all creation through Christ Jesus into sharper cous.
Ecology at the Heart of Christian – Denis Edwards
- Other creatures share with us in Christ. In this sense, we have a relationship of kinship with them. This is what St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint for ecology, celebrated in his life and in his Canticle. He sang of the Sun, the Moon, the stars, the wind, the water, and fire as brothers and sisters, and of ‘our sister, Mother Earth who nourishes and governs us, and produces different fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.’ Other species are interconnected with us before God. In their own distinctiveness they too are loved by God. We human beings are called not only to ‘cultivate and care for’ other creatures (Genesis 2:15), but also to respect them as having their own value before God, and to know that we are with them in the kinship of God’s creatures
- The Spirit of God was the dynamic, energizing presence that enabled the early universe to exist and evolve from the first part of the first second some fourteen billion years ago. As particles of hydrogen and helium separated out from radiation and formed the first atoms, as the clouds of gas compressed to form the first generation of galaxies, as the universe was lit up by the first stars, it was the Spirit of God who breathed life into the whole process.
Bio-Theoacoustics: Prayer Outdoors and the Reality of the Natural World – Lisa E. Dahill
- Thus, taking prayer outdoors has a profoundly healing component as well, as the church and its prayer practices become places people learn— together and alone—to go outdoors again, to learn again to listen to creatures beyond ourselves, to become familiar again with the direction of the wind, the force of the rain, the growth of native and non-native species, the insects and birds and animals—and their losses—in our bioregion, the movement of our own muscles and breath in relation to all of these, and the life of God who is bigger and wilder than our species’ bodies and words and programs can contain.
Partaking of God: Trinity, Evolution, and Ecology – Denis Edwards
- Ecological conversion involves a way of thinking about ourselves as interdependent and interrelational. It involves moving from an individualistic conception of the human person to seeing humans as constituted by relationships with other human beings, with the natural world of which they are a part, and with the triune God. Undergoing conversion in our thinking means coming to understand ourselves as one community of life on this fragile, beautiful, blue, green, and white planet, and as responsible for its future
- Ecological conversion involves a deepening of our feeling for the natural world of which we are a part, and a deepening of the feeling of belonging to the wider community of life on Earth. Learning to see with a loving eye can lead to feelings of wonder and gratitude
Worship in the Wilderness: Experiments in Liturgy and Ecology – Scott M. Kershner
- Lent sent us into the woods. I spread field guides around the circular hearth at the center of our sanctuary and invited the community to collect cones during Lent from each of the sixteen varieties of our native conifer neighbors. Some grew nearby; others only at harsh elevations. As people hiked, skied, and snow-shoed, cones of each of these species began to populate our worship space, representing the forests our human community invited indoors to join the liturgical celebration. We began to see these trees as co-participants in our common worship and ourselves as faithful members of the land community beyond our doors.
Falling in Love with God and the World Some Reflections on the Doctrine of God – Sallie McFague
- If God is always incarnate – if God is always in us and we in God – then Christians should attend to the model of the world as God’s body.7 For Christians, God did not become human on a whim; rather, it is God’s nature to be embodied, to be the One in whom we live and move and have our being
Re-enchantment – David Tacey
- In most European countries, spirit is felt to come from above, to descend from the sky like a dove, and shower upon the earth like the flames of Pentecost . spirit is linked to the heavens and to a father God perceived to be above us. Yet in Australia, the country of reversals, the upside-down land, whose symbol is the tilted Southern Cross, the celestial realm appears to be ‘below’ us, in the earth itself, in the soil, rocks and plants of this ancient land. Here, the spirit has not departed the earth and retreated to its heavenly abode. the spirit is in the earth, under our feet and below our normal vision and understanding.
Learn More About the Environment Commission:
Five Marks of Mission
Anglicans also have long been concerned about environmental issues. For example at the 6th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-6) held in Badagry, Nigeria in 1984, attended by Anglicans from many countries, five marks of mission were described with the last one pointing to environmental issues (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/mission/fivemarks.cfm)
The Five Marks of Mission: The Mission of the Church is the mission of Christ
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
(Bonds of Affection-1984 ACC-6 p49, Mission in a Broken World-1990 ACC-8 p101)
History of the Diocesan Environment Commission
In 2002 the Diocese of Newcastle accepted the motion moved at General Synod to implement an Environment Commission and accepted the responsibility of working together as Christians toward a sustainable future.
Bishop Graeme Rutherford, then the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle was committed to ‘encouraging and inspiring one another to become aware of issues affecting our environment and to take responsibility, both spiritually and practically, for our actions so that we can make a difference toward a sustainable future’, and so the Diocesan Environment Commission was established.
Initially the Commission the group met regularly to pray and to implement strategies which would make Anglicans of the Newcastle Diocese more aware of their individual responsibilities to care for God’s creation, our earth.
One of the important strategies of the commission has encouraging every Parish to play a pro-active role in this environmental care.
- A Chairperson appointed by the Bishop – present appointment Mr Matthew Couche
- Clergy Members: The Revd Greg Colby, The Revd Andrew Eaton, The Revd Robyn Fry, The Revd Judy Walsh
- Lay Members: Katrina Baldacchino
The focus of the commission’s work being to:
- Give leadership to the Church and its people in the way in which they can care for the environment.
- Use the resources of God’s creation appropriately and to consider and act responsibly about the effect of human activity on God’s creation.
- Facilitate and encourage the education of Church members and others about the need to care for the environment, use the resources of God’s creation properly and act responsibly about the effect of human activity on God’s creation, and
- Advise and update the Diocese on the targets needed to meet the commitment made in the Protection of the Environment Ordinance.
- Urge people to pray in regard to these matters.
- The Commission to meet at least four times a year and report to Synod.
Inspiration and Insights
God values all of creation.
- Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of God,” Matthew 10:29.
- God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
- “Climate change is an issue that impels us to think about God’s justice and how we are to echo it in our world.” Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, during the Bali COP. Link here for the full video.
- “Live simply, so that all may simply live.” St, Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) Founder of the Sisters of Charity, USA, Speech given in the Diocese of Baltimore
- “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” ― Francis of Assisi
- “The gravity of the ecological situation reveals how deep is the human moral crisis” Pope John Paul II, message for World Peace Day in 1990.
- “The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” ― Pope John Paul II
- “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Other Organisations and Links
- Anglican Communion Environment Network (ACEN) The ACEN received recognition at ACC-12 in Hong Kong in 2002 and aims to provide support and information. There many useful resources and links at the website.
- Australian Anglicans & the Environment The Australian Anglican General Synod Standing Committee has established an Environment Working Group which also has a website providing information and links.
- The Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) ABM is the national mission agency of the Anglican Church of Australia. Natural disasters can have devastating impacts on communities. Landslides, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and bushfires are some examples of the types of natural occurrences which trigger emergency relief responses. ABM supports our partners not only by providing emergency relief aid, but also by helping to prepare them for emergency situations and educating them on methods to mitigate the effects of climate change.
- The Simplicity Institute The Simplicity Institute “is a non-profit education and research centre dedicated to advancing the Simplicity Movement. Directing critique toward consumerist and growth-obsessed economies, the defining objective is to show that lifestyles of reduced and restrained consumption are a necessary and desirable part of any transition to a just, sustainable, and flourishing human community. The Simplicity Institute’s aim is to promote this vision of the good life and help build a new society based on material sufficiency. The Simplicity Institute was founded by Dr Samuel Alexander and Dr Simon Ussher, who currently direct the Institute.”
- Permaculture Principles “Permaculture is a creative design process that is based on ethics and design principles. It guides us to mimic the patterns and relationships we can find in nature and can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and even economics.”
- The Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) “The Mission of the Permaculture Research Institute is to work with individuals and communities worldwide, to expand the knowledge and practice of integrated, sustainable agriculture and culture using the whole-systems approach of permaculture design. This will provide solutions for permanent abundance by training local people to become leaders of sustainable development in their communities and countries.”
- The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) The ARC “is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices”.
- Love food hate waste –EPA – NSW State government Love Food Hate Waste helps you avoid food waste, save time and money and reduce your environmental impact by planning better, shopping smarter and storing food effectively. The Love Food Hate Waste program is managed by the Environment Protection Authority and runs in partnership with retailers, food manufacturers, local government authorities and community groups.
In NSW the government Office of Environment and Heritage covers a range of conservation and natural resources science and programs including sustainability, native vegetation, biodiversity, energy and water and much more as well (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/ ).
The Australian federal government Department of Environment “designs and implements the Australian Government’s policies and programmes to protect and conserve the environment, water and heritage and promote climate action. The environmental framework is being delivered under four pillars” clean air, clean land, clean water and national heritage. (http://www.environment.gov.au/about-us )
CSIRO, “the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. CSIRO has a strong commitment to undertake research that is focused on the environmental challenges facing Australia today.”
Local government: Many local councils have good information on environmental issues
|Cessnock City Council||http://www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/environment|
|Dungog Shire Council||http://www.dungog.nsw.gov.au/environmental-services-dungog|
|Gloucester Shire Council||http://www.gloucester.nsw.gov.au/environment|
|Great Lakes Council||http://www.greatlakes.nsw.gov.au/Environment|
|Lake Macquarie City Council||http://www.lakemac.com.au/environment|
|Maitland City Council||http://www.maitland.nsw.gov.au/OurEnvironment|
|Muswellbrook Shire Council||http://www.muswellbrook.nsw.gov.au/|
|Newcastle City Council||http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/environment|
|Taree City Council||http://www.gtcc.nsw.gov.au/Page/Page.aspx?Page_Id=70|