Latest Cathedral News
The moral imperative of climate action
Religious leaders call for deep carbon cuts and a rapid shift to renewable energy.
On Monday, the General Synod of the Church of England will likely pass two motions calling for urgent and bold action against climate change. The first urges all governments at the Paris Climate Negotiations to take bold action by transitioning to a low-carbon future and encourages the church to actively engage with the climate change issue, and the second affirms the recent decision to disinvest from coal and oil sands as a tactic to address the climate crisis.
As Anglican leaders of Australia and South Africa – two countries that have found themselves on the front lines of climate change – we celebrate these important and timely calls for climate action, based on our moral imperative to care for all of God's creation and the most vulnerable among us.
Both Australia and South Africa are already experiencing the negative impacts of rising global temperatures. Australia is one of the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world – we've seen double the amount of record hot days over the last 50 years, an increase in the frequency and intensity of weather events, a rising sea level, and further endangerment of our fragile coral reef and marine ecosystems. The story is similar in South Africa, where temperatures have risen over 1.5 times the global average over the past half century and are predicted to rise by 3-6 degrees Celcius in some areas by 2100.
Monday's motions of the Church of England – together with Pope Francis' ecology encyclical and many other faith voices – serve as a reminder that we have a moral responsibility to act on climate change. This message reminds us all that climate change is about more than the political and economic debate that all too often dominates the headlines. Climate change is first and foremost a social and moral concern.
This piece by The Dean was first published in various Fairfax publications on Sunday 31st May, the first day of Reconciliation Week
When Michael Clarke took to the cricket field wearing a black armband it was seen as a positive act of solidarity. It was his way of honouring his killed-tragically friend, Phillip Hughes. And a powerful way of ensuring we would remember the never-to-be-forgotten 16th man. The use of the black armband was a mature way of dealing with emotional upheaval. It also played a role in inspiring the Australian cricket team towards their World Cup win.
The use of black armbands by sporting folk reminds us of their healing power.
World Environment Day, June 5
World Environment Day exists to increase worldwide awareness of the environment and encourage political attention and action. The day was established by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Association in 1972.
The theme for World Environment Day this year is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” This year is also the International Year of Soils.
Soil as a critical issue for the sustainable future of the planet and because it needs to be a vital consideration in our patterns of sustainable production and consumption.
Many of the earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.
The wellbeing of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources.
Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur as a result are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.To you, God who sang the universe into being
And cradles all creation within yourself
God who became flesh, born as one of usOffering yourself for creation’s redemption
God who pours life and vision within our souls
And who is present in and through all creation
To you O God Be all praise and glory
And in this place where we are gathered.
Today we gather in celebration of soil
This complex part of our planet which we walk over, grow our food from
and yet so often take for granted
We celebrate the microbes, vegetable matter, clay and rock particles
And give thanks for soil which is so vital for life.
We come in lament and confession
For not only have we taken soil for granted
We have distanced ourselves from soil and covered it over
We’ve overused it and drained it of nutrients
And drained poisons upon it
Forgive us our negligence and destructive practices
Forgive us that while soil sustains us, we often disregard soil.
Guide us our God to paths of living
Which are attentive to the needs of all living creatures
And nurturing towards the planet. Amen.
This morning I woke to the news that Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and six others had been executed in Indonesia.
I felt incredibly numb. And incredulous.
I could’t even begin to imagine the pain felt by their families.
I found myself wondering what must go through the minds of those involved and particularly those charged with pulling the trigger, flicking the switch, or injecting a lethal dose. Do they go numb themselves? Do they ever stop seeing the eyes of their victims in their dreams? Do they dehumanise the victim so that they can go through with the act of deliberated murder? Is their justification that they are ‘just following orders’? Does the justifying narrative they have woven for themselves hold up as the human being before them is blown apart? Do they end up suffering from PTSD?
The thing I find most disturbing about execution is the calculated nature of the exercise. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Indonesian officials have spent years caught up in the relentless journey to this day. It has been done according to the Rule of Law. Done by the book. Due process has been followed. Appeals heard. Clemency sought and denied. Ten years of focussed activity. State-sanctioned murder is an inhumane activity hidden beneath layers of civil order and procedure.
I am mindful of the fact that the people responsible are ordinary people just like me.
At present we are in the Easter Season, the season that proclaims that all that is death-dealing will be transformed by God who is life and love. As people of the resurrection we are called to be agents of God on earth.
So as the day has progressed I have found myself climbing out of the numbness of the early day towards an increased determination to work for a world characterised by love and justice. I have reminded myself that when Amnesty International began campaigning against the death penalty thirty years ago less than twenty nations had abandoned the death penalty. Today over 100 nations have abolished it. So in response to the state-sanctioned murder of the eight people in Indonesia I rededicate myself to continuing this important work.
This Opinion Piece by The Dean was published in The Brsbane Times for Palm Sunday:
The lie that we are separate individuals is dying; dying I hope, faster than the planet which is being destroyed by the fruits of that lie.
The lead poem in Walt Whitman's great work, Leaves of Grass, is titled Song of Myself. It begins with the words "I celebrate myself". These words make for a first impression that the poem is a self-serving or even narcissistic exercise. However the reader soon comes to appreciate that Whitman is really exploring the idea that what affects you affects me - and vice versa. His third line is "For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you".
Whitman explores the territory surveyed by John Donne a few hundred years before him and by Mary Oliver in more recent times. John Donne stated that no one should view themselves as an island but as part of a continent,
‘If it weren’t for Aldi this wouldn’t be happening’, The Dean of St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, Dr Peter Catt, said.
‘It was a close thing.’
Last year the only chocolate egg to be seen at St John’s was the one pictured on the Cathedral’s notice board.
‘Last year we made the decision to abandon chocolate eggs after a fruitless search for eggs certified to be ‘slavery-free’’’, Dr Catt said
The Anglican Board of Mission has launched an Emergency Appeal following Cyclone Pam which hit Vanuatu on March 14, cutting communications and leaving communities across the islands with no infrastructure.
A State of Emergency has been being declared following the cyclone which left eight people confirmed dead when it hit the 65 islands with a total population of 267,000. The death toll is expected to rise significantly once communication is re-established with areas outside Port Villa, the capital city.
In this issue:
Helping Homeless Youth
Guest Speaker: The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO
Tuesday 5th May, 12.30pm
The funds raised this year at the luncheon will be directed to youth homelessness services provided by Anglicare Southern Queensland.