On Wednesday evening 6 October I attended a webinar about why the Uniting Church supports the SS4C. Speakers included very articulate, intelligent and informed school and university students, the Principal of Newington College, a First Nations representative from Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, people from Pacific Islands, academics, clergy and lay people. All highlighted the urgent need for serious action on climate and noted that those most affected by climate change have done the least to contribute to it, but will bear the brunt as sea levels rise, droughts worsen, floods and fires ravage their homes.
Impact of sea level rise on Kiribati
This frames climate change as a matter of justice, compassion and care for our neighbours, which is a large part of the reason the Uniting Church chooses to support the student strike. In Isaiah 58 God responds to Israel’s complaints that He has not seen their fasting by saying He wants his people to “loose the bonds of injustice… to let the oppressed go free”. In Luke 4 Jesus begins his ministry by claiming that he is fulfilling the words of Scripture “to bring good news to the poor… release to the captives… to let the oppressed go free…” Speakers noted that when Jesus saw injustices, he acted in ways that disrupted the status quo, overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple, breaking Sabbath rules in front of Pharisees, speaking with women, touching lepers and so on.
A clear message from the webinar for me that there are times when we need to confront issues and let our elected representatives know that climate justice matters to us, that we care for our country, our neighbours and the future of our children and grandchildren.
This is what students are doing through their strikes and they appreciate adult support. If you go online to www.ss4c.info/oct15 you will find ways you can help. In-person strikes are only being held where it is permitted to do so. Elsewhere they are online.
In NSW there will be a NSW-wide online event at 3pm. You may also be interested in joining online events in Newcastle or Lismore at 11am. You will need to register to be sent a zoom link by email to login. I encourage you to give serious consideration to attending online… “just as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me”.