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Monday, July 25, 2011

Press Release: Canberra City Uniting Church Earns Environmental Award

(Now published at

Canberra City Uniting Church was honoured for their environmental focus on Sunday with the presentation of a Five Leaf Eco-Award in the category of Eco-Worship.

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are an ecumenical environmental change program targeting religious institutions, a part of the community that has been largely overlooked by the greater environmental movement. The awards are based on the creation care concept, which treats care for the environment as a basic tenant of religious faith. Armed with this message, the Five Leaf Eco-Awards assist churches in fulfilling set goals related to sustainability and community awareness of environmental issues. Canberra City Uniting Church are the sixth church in Australia, and the first in the ACT, to receive this prestigious award..

The award was presented during the congregation's City at Night service  in order to to acknowledge the particular dedication of this congregation to caring for the environment. This has included participation in a range of working bees that conducted weeding and established an environmental resource room at the Greenhills Centre on Cotter Road and holding discussions on issues around ecological footprints, greening the church and responses to the disappointment felt by many after the  perceived failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit last year. Some members of this congregation are also part of the church’s newly established student house, which was recently energy audited to help its residents live as sustainably as possible.

Rev. Myung Hwa Park accepted the award on behalf of the church. Rev. Park, who trained in eco-theology while living in Ireland and was one of the driving forces behind the campaign for the award, was very proud to see the church recognised.  "Receiving this award makes us feel even more committed to caring for the environmnet, which I see as a crucial responsibility for modern Christians,” Rev. Park said. She is already working on what they can do next, with a Cupcake Day event to raise money for the RSPCA being planned for a City at Night service later this year.

Five Leaf Eco-Awards Director and Canberra resident Jessica Morthorpe, who was there to personally present the award, said she was hopeful that Rev. Park and the Canberra City Uniting congregations would inspire other local churches to get involved in the program. Ms. Morthorpe said, "The word is slowly getting out, currently we have 15 churches nationwide involved in the program, as well as many more who have expressed their interest.

“There are lots of churches out there doing things for the environment that deserve recognition and many others who want to do something but are not sure where to start or need some support and advice. I want to encourage those churches to get involved in the Five Leaf Eco-Awards. In particular, I hope that this award presentation will bring the Five Leaf Eco-Awards to the attention of churches in the ACT region. The awards are based here, so churches in Canberra have the opportunity to invite personal involvement from myself, as well as the existing benefits of being involved in the program.”

For more information on the Five Leaf Eco-Awards visit or check out Jessica’s blog at

Image caption: From left: Five Leaf Eco-Awards Director Jessica Morthorpe, Rev. Myung Hwa Park and the City at Night congregation with the church's Eco Worship Award. Image supplied by the Five Leaf Eco-Awards.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+