In a spirit of community building and healing, the faith communities of Holy Cross Anglican and St Margaret’s Uniting in Hackett in Canberra’s inner north recently hosted a festival focussed on sustainability.
The ‘Sustaining Our Future’ Festival on the weekend of September 19-20 brought together local groups and speakers to offer information on climate change and inspiration on how to reduce one’s individual or household waste and carbon footprint.
“During these pandemic times, it’s even more important we find ways to get together safely and discuss common concerns, be inspired and make a difference,” said Reverend Chris Lockley of St Margaret’s.
People were able to test ride electric bikes and learn about composting. There was also a concert in the church featuring singer-songwriter Lucy Sugerman and local youth bands, a visual arts exhibition, and an ecumenical ‘Celebration of Creation’ worship service.
The program included an ACT election candidates forum moderated by Dickson College students.
“It was a great opportunity for our young people, who have a lot invested in a low-carbon future, to quiz local candidates about their sustainability policies ahead of the October poll,” said Reverend Tim Watson of Holy Cross.
This event, the first of its kind in Hackett, demonstrated the potential of the venue for more community events in the future where people can gather for spiritual and personal resourcing, community development, and to encourage each other in working for the Common Good.”
The Festival was organised as part of Holy Cross/St Margaret’s joint Carbon Action Project, launched earlier this year. Both churches have committed to make their operations carbon neutral within two years, and to help church members and the local community take climate change seriously through local action and engagement.
The once-fixed pews in the ecumenical Hackett church were recently removed to allow for more dynamic and mixed uses of the interior worship space.
“The event was joyful and inclusive, and it put our mandate to evangelise as followers of Jesus into practice in so many different ways. It was a real celebration of beauty (art, music, God’s creation), truth (political debate, scientific and practical learning) and goodness (community, social and environmental action)”, said Reverend Watson.
“It also resonated with Bishop Mark’s encouraging comment about enabling people to return to church after lockdown: ‘re-integrating people to community through community, and helping us think about how we could implement similar steps with people who’ve never been part of our gathered worship’,” Rev. Watson added.
The two ministers also thanked volunteers who worked hard to make it happen.
“So many people made the event work. There were many hours served planning it and then during – to ensure it was safe and kept the festival moving along,” said Rev. Lockley.
More than twenty Holy Cross members, aged between 8 and 80, met on Sunday 4 August for two hours of prayer, reflection and vision casting, to explore together how God is calling us to develop our ministry with children, youth and families. We were expertly facilitated by Andrew Edwards and Ben Paton (co-directors of Synergy, the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn’s youth ministry), with help from Karen Baron from ACT Christian Education In Schools, and some excellent input from our very own Kids Church, youth and parents.
Key points from our discussion includes:
younger and older Christians often have the same spiritual needs
relationships are more important than programmes
mentoring is of real value, both for younger and older Christians
rather than inventing new activities, it’s often better to re-think and re-purpose existing activities
young people need rest at weekends, and 9am on Sunday is not a very attractive time for them, though those who make the effort tell us that they find it really worthwhile
young Christians need contact with adult Christians who are not their parents!
youth ministry is a “whole church” activity and responsibility, though it can benefit from expert facilitation (of the kind that Synergy can provide)
Check out the photos below to see more details of our discussion – and please do contact the Rector if you have any comments / questions.