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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Story of: St Mark's Anglican Church South Hurstville, Sydney, NSW

Winners of the Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate and Eco-Worship Award.

EcoChurch is an environmental project for the parish and community that demonstrates our commitment to the stewardship of God’s creation. It provides connections with our local community, educates parishioners and community about climate change and other environmental issues, and facilitates action to reduce harmful environmental impact. A growing number of Christians now understand that concern and responsibility for the environment flow directly from our faith. This proposal is primarily about taking action – doing things to reduce both town water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

EcoChurch employs three strategies:

• improvements in church buildings and a new environmental focus in our parish life

• education and improvements in parish households

• taking the experience to the broader church and the local community.

EcoChurch was launched and dedicated on Palm Sunday 2007, the day after ‘Earth Hour’ – an initiative to show the world that we care enough about global warming to take action and turn our lights off for one hour. EcoChurch is now part of the norm of our church community.
Initiatives over recent years:

• Speakers provided to various forums, such as: Faith Ecology Network series of seminars ‘Climate Faith Change’ held at Auburn in June 2007; A Moral Climate Conference 6 May 2008.

• EcoGoals agreement and monthly education flyers distributed to members.

• Water harvesting through a 10,000 litre water tank installed for St Mark’s Pre-School Kindergarten for toilet flushing.

• An organic garden and a second smaller tank used for Kindergarten gardens and education purposes.

• Recycling centre established for printing cartridges, spectacles (through OPSM), magazines (for prisoners), postage stamps (for mission fundraising), candle wax (for worship candles), in addition to the long standing community clothing bin. It has been expanded to include the collection of computers andassociated equipment, which will be recycled by Psychiatric Rehabilitation Australia. PRA provides employment opportunities for people living with mental illness and psychiatric disability.

• St Mark’s was represented from 2007 in the Walk Against Warming coordinated by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW

• EcoLiving Workshop on ‘water tanks’ for the localcommunity in conjunction with Kogarah City Council.

• Church incandescent lamps changed for energy efficient lamps.

• ‘Signed-up’ for all Earth Hours.

St Mark’s observes the Season of Creation each year in September: including Creation Sunday, Social Justice Sunday, International Day of Peace, and Blessing of Animals on St Francis Day.

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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+