Queensland Churches Environmental Network
Given the current environmental crisis and a broad ecumenical consensus surrounding it, there is an urgent need for the churches to address publicly the ethical, social and spiritual questions posed by the crisis. There is also a growing awareness that the church has a mission to love and care for creation as a vital expression of its faith. It was therefore timely to establish a group that might facilitate this mission – the Queensland Churches Environmental Network (QCEN), which is a commission of Queensland’s ecumenical churches council – Queensland Churches Together (QCT).
Terms of Reference
- To be a resource and advisory group for the QCT in matters relating to environmental care.
- To provide a forum for dialogue and the sharing of information and resources for the care of creation.
- To promote eco-mission as an integral part of the church’s mission.
- To encourage and enable ecumenical action for Earthcare.
- To promote appropriate study material and educational models
- To have an advocacy role in encouraging church bodies and congregations to participate in a public stand against practices that pollute, degrade or destroy God’s creation.
- To explore interfaith possibilities in Earthcare.
- To relate to the NCCA Eco-Mission Project Group.
- To network with member churches of QCT, with the NCCA through its Eco-Mission group, and with groups with an environmental focus.
- To facilitate dialogue, sharing of resources, advocacy and action
- To plan and conduct interfaith activities related to earthcare.
The membership of QCEN is drawn from the member Churches of QCT. The current members represent the following denominations:
Anglican, Lutheran, Quakers, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Uniting
The committee is keen to extend the diversity of its membership in terms of gender, age, and cultural background.
Currently QCEN meets monthly for 90 minutes (currently 1pm-2.30pm, 4th Thursdays, February to November).
There are also one or two visits to denominational groups each year (maybe 2 hours).
The main roles of members are:
- To act as a conduit to provide information from their network of church and broader community contacts to QCEN and its members, and to pass on information from QCEN back to their contacts.
- If available, to assist with occasional QCEN activities such as movie screenings, lectures and photo displays (usually 2 or 3 such activities each year).
Caring for Creation in Your Faith Community
As Christians, we are keenly aware that creation is not merely a treasure house of resources for our use. Instead, we see creation as filled with God’s presence, and we see our role as responsible stewards and caretakers of all that God has created. A common question for congregations, schools and agencies is how they can best care for creation as an integral part of their activities. With many congregations already feeling overloaded with just trying to continue their existing operations, adding a creation care program can seem too difficult.
Here are some suggestions for how you can start a creation care program without becoming overwhelmed. These steps are based on a Canadian initiative called “Greening Your Church” available at https://creationcare.teachable.com/p/10-steps-to-greening-your-church. You don’t need to do these steps in any particular order – every faith community will be different.
- Hold a Creation Care Sunday Service: You can run this service any time of the year, for example at your Harvest Thanksgiving service, St Francis of Assisi Feast day, World Environment day or during Season of Creation.. Maybe hold your service outdoors. During the service, ask for any volunteers who’d like to join a creation care Green Team.
- Establish a “Green Team”: Find a team of interested champions. Young people see creation care as a major issue for their future, gardeners already have a deep appreciation of the beauty of creation, and engineers like to solve problems. They all make good team members.
- Promote Green Tips: Keep creation care visible as an element of congregational life by including “green tips” in your weekly bulletin. There are lots of these on the Internet.
- Start with a First Project: The Green Team should start with one project that is impactful but not overly ambitious. This might be a film night, a workshop, or a fundraising campaign to replace disposable cups with reusable cups and a dishwasher.
- Develop an Environmental Policy: The Green Team can develop some guidelines for how the congregation will operate more sustainably. It might not be possible to do everything at once, but an aspirational policy is a good start. Get the policy endorsed by the Church Council and also present it at the church AGM.
- Develop an Action Plan: An action plan looks at achievable steps to start implementing the environmental policy. You might consider applying, as a congregation, for a 5-leaf Eco-Award. This is an Australian initiative that provides actions to undertake over a year or so, with a certificate at the end.
- Education: As part of the action plan, include some educational activities for the congregation – maybe film nights, workshops or Bible studies.
- Outreach: Caring for creation is something that the whole community is interested in, so encourage your congregation to join in with local practical community initiatives. For example, get your congregation involved in Clean Up Australia Day.
- Communicate Good News: Encourage your congregation by sharing good news stories about what you are doing through your bulletin, through your social media pages, and at your church meetings.
- Celebrate Often: Enjoy God’s good creation and celebrate fellowship together as you care for creation. Take opportunities to spend time with each other simply enjoying God’s beautiful creation in your neighbourhood. Creation care should be a joy, not a burden!
Information and Events
Season of Creation
Season of Creation is a global movement where Christians are invited to celebrate, pray and act to protect creation. It runs each year from 1st September (the day of prayer for creation) to 4th October (feast day of St Francis).
The theme for Season of Creation 2023 is Let Justice and Peace Flow. The symbol is A Mighty River.
More information on Season of Creation is available through the World council of churches website here.
WCC Message to the Care of Creation Press Conference on 25 May 2023 here.
Special Season of Creation Service
Wednesday - 6th September 12pm
Lychee Tree Lawn, Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens
The order of service can be downloaded here
Season of Creation Contemplative Walk
A special contemplative walk has been developed around Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. The walk has eight stops and starts at Lychee Tree Lawn. At each stop there is a short bible reading and prayer/devotion to read.
Click here to download the walk.
2023 marks the 7th QCEN Season of Creation display. Once again we are seeking creative works to display at St John's Cathedral. We would love to have any creative output you are keen to share! This can include prayers, videos, poems, short stories, photos, drawings, paintings, art, music - anything creative! We would also particularly welcome contributions from children.
For more details on how to submit your creative work, go to the QCEN Facebook page.
In 2023 we hope once again to have a display and Season of Creation Ecumenical service in Toowoomba.
Follow the link to view Season of Creation submissions from 2022.
Click here to see Season of Creation pictures for 2020.
Click here to see Season of Creation pictures from 2019.
Click here for more information on Season of Creation.
Invitation to celebrate Season of Creation from Church Leaders.
Presentations to On Earth Festival 2022
Presentation to the 2019 Assembly
In October 2019 QCEN presented to the QCT Assembly meeting a series of talks on the theme:
Ecumenical Care for Creation - with an emphasis on Climate Change.
All presentations can be found below:
Address: Rev'd Dr Graham Warren - Opening Worship Address
Speaker 1: Dr David Tutty Ecological conversion - What is needed?
Speaker 2: Rev Peter Blake Where are we heading?
Speaker 3: Rev Dr Clive Ayre The current ecumenical response
Speaker 4: Dr Kumi Abeysuriya What do we need to change?
Speaker 5: Peter Arndt Responding to the Climate Emergency together