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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Young Adults Make a Difference for God's Creation

On Saturday 27th of March the ACT Uniting Church Young Adults Group descended on the Greenhills Camp and Conference Centre on Cotter Road with gloves, hats and sunscreen. We had come to worship God by tending and keeping his creation.

We had come to battle with the weeds which had sprung up after the recent rains and were overwhelming the revegetation area. At first, the task seemed overwhelming, but the team jumped in with enthusiasm. We fought hard against wild mustard, thistles, African lovegrass and anything else Vernon, our dedicated weed expert, said had to go. We have no idea how Vernon managed to keep these weeds under control single-handedly before his stroke!

The area we were working on is a native revegetation project, an area that is part of the chapel environmental walk that forms part of Greenhill’s environmental education project for visitors. We needed to remove the weeds to protect the growing trees and enhance the educational value of the site.

It was nice to get away from the city for a bit, to hear the sounds of the bush, feel the sun on our skin and the dirt in our hands. The mustard weeds in particular were quite difficult to pull out, and there was a sense of victory in defeating them. We had come from a variety of churches around Canberra, car-pooling to reduce our carbon footprint, and although some of us had never met before there was a camaraderie in fighting a common enemy and we all worked very hard.

After an energy-reviving morning tea of delicious mini-muffins and sausage rolls we visited the Connie Christie chapel for a brief service. The outdoor chapel, overlooking the Murrumbidgee River corridor and the Bullen Range Nature Reserve, was the perfect site to praise God for creation and ask for its protection. Surrounded by bush, the chapel is overhung by a large eucalypt which still shows the scars of the January 2003 bushfires and the lectern and cross used are made from the remains of the originals which were burnt in the fire. We discussed Greenhill’s remarkable recovery from those fires and the signs from it that are still in the landscape, but also the hope and renewal all around us, symbolised perhaps by a small Kurrajong tree growing at the foot of the scarred Eucalypt.

After the service we passed around a small snow gum for prayer before planting it in memory of the day. Once it was in the ground and we had promised to come back and visit it we eagerly returned to weeding, determined to make a dint in the mass of weeds surrounding us. By the time we finished the whole revegetation area was free of weeds – quite a feat. Tired but happy, we finished with a delicious lunch and lots of chatting.

We are already planning another working bee at Greenhills and are interested in helping out churches with environmental projects.

A big thank you to all the young people who participated and to Rev Myung-Hwa Park and the Greenhills staff for helping us to organise the event and for providing our yummy free morning tea and lunch.

If you would like to be involved in the ACT Uniting Church Young Adults group or your church would like to propose a project for us, contact Jessica Morthorpe.

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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+