Living Waters – Run-off, Rivers and Reefs
“Within water there is a strange trust. It has faith in itself.
It does not insist on any priority of place. It will flow until it finds its own level”.
John O’Donohue, “To Free the Silted Source”.
On Sunday 25th September, the Faith Ecology Network, in collaboration with Randwick City Council, held a wonderful event at the Randwick Community Centre. More than 40 people from diverse groups of faith, culture and scientific perspectives gathered to learn, listen, share and commit to actions on the importance of our water systems and the impact caused by human activities.
The day was opened with a water ritual performed by an Aboriginal person, a secular person, a Hindu, a Christian and three Muslims and created a sense of the sacred, respect, trust and openness.
Randwick City Council provided the venue, showcasing many sustainable practices and an ephemeral wetland currently full of water. They also provided two inspiring scientist-educators: Will Jones, marine scientist who runs the Marine Discovery Centre at Bondi Beach and Renée Ferster-Levy, ecologist.
There was great diversity of people from Aboriginal, Bahai’i, Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church, Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu traditions as well of people of no faith who brought a richness with their presence and participation. Much knowledge was shared through the key speaker, Dr Duncan Cook, ACU Deputy Head of the School of Arts (NSW/ACT) and Head of Discipline (Geography) who drew our attention to issues of global inequality in water resources and lead to rich discussion about systems of power, governance and social justice. The preservation of water for the future was also on people’s minds. Will Jones revealed local reefs and the concept of ‘run-in’ which is causing terrible plastic pollution in our oceans.
A four step process developed by Sally Neaves and Neil Davidson through the Rahamim Centre in Bathurst helped everybody share their personal responses to the expert input, then look at the issues in the broader context. People moved to discuss new learning in relation to faith/wisdom followed by commitment to action in faith groups as well as common action.
The sun came out for a short while and allowed time for a guided walk out to the wetland with Renée Ferster-Levy and the chance to listen to her speak about the diverse birdlife and for us to hear their calls.
Neil Davidson acted as a Key Listener and showed great skill in summing up what was being said at the tables. What was interesting as well as encouraging was that he saw the way the Faith Ecology Network operates as a great example of what needs to be done to bring about change for the good of all people and all life. The day is best summed up by this quote from one of our attendees who commented about their experience of the day “a sense especially of HOPE. Today I encountered a community so diverse yet so united in concern and commitment”. We look forward to the ways in which this day leads us to next.
LIVING WATERS - RUN-OFF, RIVERS & REEFS
ECOLOGICAL REFORMATION OF CHRISTIANITY
[Image: Flickr http://bit.ly/1SYvUHW]
To address the question of ecological reformation of each Christian tradition, leaders have created the 'Manifesto for an Ecological Reformation of Christianity'. It states:
The need for an ecological reformation of all Christian traditions is of course manifested in different
ways in various parts of the world. The pain impulses associated with ecological destruction have been
registered especially in those areas that lie on the periphery of current constellations of economic
power. The call for an ecological reformation of Christianity has come with particular urgency from
Christians in such areas (the Pacific, Africa, Asia, Latin-America) as they are more exposed and
vulnerable. This call is echoed by churches which belong to (mainly protestant) countries in the global
North which have contributed heavily to the exploitation of natural resources, industrial production
and a style of consumption that causes environmental degradation. (Excerpt from the Manifesto for an Ecological Reformation of Christianity, Gathering at the Academy of Volos, March 2016)
UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE (URI)
Exciting news! FEN has recently become a member (or Cooperation Circle) of the global interfaith, grassroots network the United Religions Initiative.
URI is a global grassroots interfaith network of over 770 organisations and groups of people in 95 countries around the world, that work to cultivate peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.
URI members, called co-operation circles, work to transcend religious and cultural divisions all around the world to create inclusive, on-the-ground solutions to critical issues facing their communities and regions.
Many URI CCs, including FEN, are organized around environmental issues, including pollution, resource depletion and global warming, which cut across religious, cultural and geographic boundaries and underlie many of the social and economic issues they face. In 2008, URI launched its Environmental Satellite, a network of environmental experts and environment-oriented CCs, and developed a collection of on-line resources to support them. URI’s Global Council also issued a Climate Change Call to Action in 2010.
For more information on how to get involved please contact Australia Pacific Co-ordinator Nivy email@example.com and visit www.uri.org
Food & Faith - an interfaith community garden
FEN members and staff from the Columban Mission Institute joined with people from diverse cultures and faith backgrounds to celebrate the launch of the FoodFaith
Community Garden in Lane Cove.
EVENT: Spiritual Awareness for a Sustainable World. 1 - 3 April 2016
Join other FEN members and environmental sustainability professionals for this spiritual retreat from the 1st- 3rd of April 2016. The retreat will be held at the Brahma Kumaris Centre for Spiritual Learning in the Blue Mountains. For more information, click here.
FEN walks with diverse cultures & faiths at People's Climate March
On Sunday 29th November 2015 people of diverse faiths and cultures walked alongside tens of thousands of passionate people in a show of solidarity for climate action ahead of the COP 21 climate talks in Paris.
VIDEO: Enrichment Day 2015
We have created a short video of this year's FEN Enrichment Day. FEN members enjoyed a day of hiking through the Wollangambe wilderness to Gooches Crater, where they took in the spectacular views and learnt about the background and issues of the natural area from expert and guide, Dr. Haydn Washington. FEN members then spent some time meditating in ancient caves located below the pagodas.
View the video on YouTube here.
2015 Enrichment Day
On Sunday 18 October 2015, FEN members walked to Gooches Crater in the Wollangambe wilderness for the annual Enrichment Day. It was a day of spiritual reflection and connection to nature, guided by scientist and author, Dr. Haydn Washington.
For all photos, click here.
On 23 July 2015, FEN held a multifaith forum in Sydney on the topic of endless growth on a finite planet. The title of event was Healthy Earth, Endless Growth - are they compatible?
After a keynote speech by scientist and author Dr. Haydn Washington on the topic of the growth economy, five respondents from different faith traditions commented from their own faith perspectives.
The circulation of this statement was followed by a group discussion session, during which audience members shared their opinions and feelings regarding the topic. Click here to read some of the insights shared.
We also produced a short video of the forum, which is available to watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iny43t2JNs