Church Leaders’ Easter Statement on the Enviroment

Gaia at W5 Belfast (2019)

Dozens of church leaders, including the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral Dr Andreas Loewe and many others affected by recent flooding and bushfires, have signed an open letter calling for government leaders to take action on climate change.

The letter (see the full text and list of signatories below) was released on Holy Saturday.

This coming Friday on United Nations World Earth Day (22 April at 4.30pm), St Paul’s will host a public forum on fighting the Climate Emergency, with leading experts and thinkers from the University of Melbourne, Australian Catholic University and Indigenous and Civic Leaders. 

During the event, a seven metre sculpture of the earth, Gaia, by UK based artist Luke Jerram, will be launched (pictured above). Gaia, a globally acclaimed touring artwork was created from images by NASA of the Earth’s surface and will be suspended in the Cathedral giving visitors an incredible opportunity to view Earth as it might be seen from space, floating in three dimensions. This will be the first time Gaia will be displayed in an indoor setting in Australia.

The artwork has been brought to Australia by the Cathedral, as part of its commitment to advocate for greater action to help mitigate a climate emergency, and will be on display in the Cathedral through to the end of June.

Church Leaders’ Easter Statement on the Environment

Easter is a celebration of life. In order to celebrate life all people need to flourish, but we acknowledge that Australians have been enduring dark days – with droughts, bushfires, severe storms and massive floods.

Our churches, along with homes and businesses in our communities, are being burnt down, flooded and severely impacted by extreme weather. Damage to the climate is a key contributing factor to these events.

Yet among these shared struggles there is Easter, a message of hope. Hope which reminds us that we can overcome the challenges that face us lifts hearts and minds to perceive a transformed world. Amongst the greatest challenges we face, is climate change. This is a challenge that collectively we can overcome. Facing this challenge requires us all to act responsibly and courageously.

Faith communities have worked tirelessly – alongside our neighbours – providing relief, comfort and practical support to those affected by climate driven disasters. But we cannot do this alone. The greater challenge of preventing such disasters in the future requires systemic transformation. We need our government leaders to heed the advice of climate experts to reduce carbon emissions to ensure a safe and sustainable future.

Churches along with other institutions in civil society and the business community must examine our own practices so we can help reverse damage to the climate. We commit to this action, in particular to support and protect marginalised communities and First Nations people who are on the frontlines of these dramatic environmental changes.

As our political leaders continue their election campaign this Easter, we welcome them to our churches and call on them to take powerful action to preserve and protect God’s creation by:

●  Halving carbon emissions this decade, in line with the recommendation of scientists and targets of our major trading partners;
●  Transforming our energy system towards 100% renewable electricity while delivering a planned and just transition for energy workers; and
●  Investing in programs to support communities on the frontlines to plan, prepare and adapt to the extreme weather events.

Signed by

Rev Sharon Hollis, President Uniting Church in Australia Assembly Ann Zubrick, Presiding Clerk, Quakers Australia
Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian, Primate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand
Rev. John Gilmore, President, National Council of Churches in Australia
The Most Rev’d Kay Goldsworthy AO, Anglican Archbishop of Perth
The Most Rev’d Dr Phillip Aspinall AC, Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane
The Most Rev’d Mark Coleridge, Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane
The Most Rev’d Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv STL DD, Bishop of Parramatta [Catholic]
The Right Rev’d Dr Murray Harvey, Bishop of Grafton [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Dr Peter Stuart, Bishop of Newcastle [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Kate Prowd, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Melbourne [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Sonia Roulston, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Newcastle [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Charlie Murry, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Newcastle [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Jeremy Greaves, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Brisbane [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Cameron Venables, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Brisbane [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d John Roundhill, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Brisbane [Anglican]
The Right Rev’d Philip Huggins, Diocese of Melbourne [President of the National Council of Churches in Australia]
The Right Rev’d Dr Stephen Pickard, Adjunct Professor, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University
The Right Rev Dr George Browning, Inaugural Convener, Anglican Communion Climate Network
The Very Rev’d Elizabeth Dyke, Dean of Bendigo [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d David Price, Dean of The Murray [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Richard Humphrey, Dean of Hobart [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Dr Kenneth Lay, Dean of Townsville [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Darryl Cotton, Dean of Bunbury [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Dr Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne [Anglican]
Bishop Chis McLeod, Dean of Adelaide [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Chris Chataway, Dean of Perth [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Katherine Bowyer, Dean of Newcastle [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, Dean of Brisbane [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Ken Goodger, Dean of Wangaratta [Anglican]
The Very Rev’d Rob Llewellyn, Dean of Darwin [Anglican]
Very Rev Robert Riedling, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta [Catholic]
Kristyn Crossfield, Common Grace Board Chair [A non-denominational Not for Profit]
Sister Anne Lane President Society of Presentation Sisters of Australia and Papua New Guinea [Presentation Congregations in Australia]
Sr. Eveline Crotty Institute Leader Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea [Catholic]
Sr Wendy Hildebrand, Institute Leader Loreto Sisters Australia and South East Asia [Catholic]