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Lamenting Loss, Praying for Change, Creating a Climate of Hope

vigil300Christian love makes a way through the grief towards a safer climate

Be part of something bold, together this Lenten season.

Australian Churches are invited to join in pastoral and prophetic leadership during the lead-up to Easter to respond to the long-running bushfire disaster and other recent ‘unprecedented’ disasters. We can build on the momentum and imagery from Australia’s bushfire disaster 2019-20 and link it to Christian narratives that are part of Australia’s culture (eg fire, flood, regeneration).

Australian Bushfire Vigils

What:

Public vigils at Churches (or related spaces) between Tuesday 25 February (eve of Ash Wednesday) and the first day of Autumn (Sunday 1st March)

Why:

Provide a space for people across the community to gather, lament, pray, connect, gain hope, be encouraged to action

Who:

  • All churches are invited to participate.
  • Hosted by churches across Australia - invitation to any church or church organisation
  • Key churches and Cathedrals in several major centres or on frontlines
    • To kick off the idea across multiple locations, begin by asking leaders or major churches in key population centres or on the frontlines to become lead churches.
  • Concept and resources can be widely shared by like-minded organisations eg: World Community of Christian Meditation, TEAR, Common Grace, Wellspring Community, Global Catholic Climate Movement, Uniting Earth, Church social justice and aid organisations, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change
  • Practical support led Anglican Church Southern Queensland (ACSQ)- Justice Unit

How

Elements of vigils could be kept very simple and shared across the country:

  • Simple liturgy – could be based on previous vigil services
  • Visual / symbols – Bring symbols of key elements of common home into our churches and cathedrals, and/or photos and artworks of them. eg
    • Fire / Ash: bushfires - ash, charred remains (eg logs, remains of possessions) collected locally or from our regions
    • Earth: drought
    • Water: rain, floods, cyclones - water is essential for life and cleansing, symbolic in new beginnings
  • Music
  • Inclusive prayer
  • Stories – from those affected (How to give voice to the non-human life affected?)
  • Participation – lighting of candles, silence, prayer trees etc.
  • Call To action – give options for action such as:
    • “Carbon Fast” for Lent
    • Make a longer-term commitment to “Live the Change”
    • Hosting conversations about caring for our climate/Creation
    • Gatherings to write letters or phone or meet with elected representatives or candidates
    • Regeneration/tree-planting (on mass scale) - link with organisations such as A Rocha, Greening Australia, Landcare, local councils and environment groups; consider linking unaffected church communities (eg congregations and schools in cities) with affected church communities 

Sign up: Australian Bushfire Vigils website to join a vigil. If there is no vigil in your city or town and you would like to host one please indicate when you sign up, and ACSQ will get in contact with you. - https://www.bushfirevigil.com/

The Anglican Church of Southern Queensland will lead and facilitate gathering of a range of resources and ideas for each of these elements and making them available online - https://www.bushfirevigil.com/

Ash Wednesday Statement:

What

In conjunction with the Australian Bushfire Vigils, Church leaders make public statements for release via the mainstream media and Australian Churches. Other Christians are invited to endorse and share the statements.

Why

Add distinctly Christian voice to the public discourse on the bushfires and other disasters and changing climate.

Who

How

Church leaders make short public statements, released on Ash Wednesday and/or in support of the Australian Bushfire Vigils.

  • Something that makes a meta statement about the urgency of the situation and need to repair our broken relationship with creation
  • How we need to move forward together as a country
  • Clearly links climate change to the severity of recent natural disasters
  • Not weighing into specific arguments taking place re bushfires
  • Could include a stronger/ specific call to action

How?

  • Draft a media release and/or op-ed that Church leaders can adapt for their own use, including a Call To Action
  • Circulate to key Christian leaders
  • On the basic Australian Bushfire Vigils website:
    • include the draft media release and instructions
    • invite other people who are Christian or part of the wider community to “commend” and share the sentiment (ie offer repentance) and, preferably, to commit to actions in the Call To Action
  • Prepare public communication via media
    • Media release & possible media conference(s) 
    • Specific media release for Christian media
    • Nominated spokespeople
    • Pre-prepped Op-Eds 
 

Call To Action - Carbon Fast 2020

What

Taking the opportunity of the spiritual and challenging aspects of Lent to make a commitment to trialling or beginning a positive, transformational change to living in ways that are less damaging to our climate and more in keeping with caring for Creation.

Why

  • Help kick-start behavioural transformation amongst Christians
  • Show practical Christian leadership
  • Review the effect on Creation of how we go about our daily lives and to try new ways of doing things and preferably publicise what how and why we are doing the challenge

Who

Individuals or groups

How

  • A weekly theme based on key areas for change eg:
    • Food
    • Transport
    • ‘Stuff’
    • Electricity, heating & cooling
    • Money
    • Community
  • Challenges to take as an individual or in a group
  • Resources to read or watch and reflect upon
  • Email/online encouragement and support
  • Based on resources from previous carbon fasts. 
            
     
 

Call To Action – Living the Change

(faithful choices for a flourishing world)

What

Join a multi-faith, global, behavioural change campaign that draws on our spiritual traditions to inspire lifestyle choices which, especially when made collectively, will help limit global warming.

Why

Focuses people on making important permanent behavoural changes that are impactful and transformational changes needed to live more in harmony with Creation

Who

Individuals or groups

How

  • People are invited to make a high-impact pledge and be part of a spiritually-inspired movement that takes practical and transformative action and says to our world, enough is enough!
  • Details are already available online and through local people who are already Living the Change
   
 

IN BRIEF:

The Justice Unit of The Anglican Church of Southern Queensland will be offering support for the Vigils including:

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NCCA Reflection for Ash Wednesday 

Read the NCCA reflection by Bishop Philip Huggins here https://www.ncca.org.au/ncca-newsletter/february-2020-1/item/1991-ncca-reflection-for-ash-wednesday-2020021 

Or - download the  pdf NCCA Reflection for Ash Wednesday 2020 (665 KB)

Read Bishop Philip Huggins' recent   pdf MEDIA STATEMENT How do we make 2020 a transformative and wonderful year for all of God's creation? (437 KB)

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