Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeNewsEnvironmentCelebrating nature

Celebrating nature

WATERLOO: Raglan Street was alive with the sounds of dogs barking, cats meowing and humans speaking for foxes, cats, fish, sheep, trees, rivers and all creation. These voices were raised in celebration of the lives of St Clare and St Francis of Assisi on Sunday, September 29, at the South Sydney Uniting Church (SSUC).

The service was packed with many wonderful activities including the yearly blessing of the animals, reaffirmation of baptismal vows, prayers drawn from the Council of All Beings, and a moving presentation by Chris Gambian CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (CCNSW).

Mr Gambian is new to his role but has a strong background in campaigning and advocacy. He started his presentation by introducing the CCNSW’s four campaign areas:

  • Air Quality
  • Ending Deforestation
  • Climate and Clean Energy
  • Marine Conservation

He outlined the serious harms associated with all of these issues, and then concentrated on speaking about the damage caused to native flora and fauna by deforestation, with 75 species already extinct in NSW, and 60 per cent of all native mammals, including koalas, currently under threat (see

Threats noted by Mr Gambian and from climate disruption – which are challenging all of creation – influenced the inclusion of a prayerful version of the Council of all Beings in the service. This is a practice created by the eco-psychologist Joanna Macy and the famous Australian environmentalist John Seed where people gather contemplatively, choose a being to represent, and then speak for that being. Describing the practice the Rainforest Information Centre says this ritual “aims to heighten awareness of our interdependence in the living body of Earth, and to strengthen our commitment to defend it”.

At the SSUC celebration there was a plea from the artic fox who is losing its home, from factory farmed sheep who are treated brutally, from rivers that are drying up, from trees that are being cut down, and from fish that are dying. This was a moving and poignant part of the service that led into the blessing of the animals.

Members of the congregation, neighbours and friends brought their special friends, including some lovely dogs who mainly kept their woofs in the lower registers, two cats who were stoic, and some beautiful, remembered, furry friends displayed in photographs.

The morning concluded with a wonderful shared vegetarian lunch comprising vegetables from the community garden at the back of the church and delicious dishes that people contributed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img

Volunteers’ News – April 2024

I know I always seem to start off my April column with an acknowledgement of Autumn, because I love the cooler nights (not always days!) and the lovely trees in flower in my area. There always seem to be plenty of activities at this time of year.

A call to faith, justice and an end to occupation

On Monday March 18, members of Balmain and Leichhardt Uniting Churches met with their State MP, Kobi Shetty, whose office is located in Glebe.

Living with dementia – a carer’s journey: 3. Commitment

In July 2018 I resigned from my full-time senior management position in the department of NSW Health Pathology to become a committed carer for my husband, Stuart, who lives with dementia. To maintain my mental health, I decided to work as a casual medical interpreter in hospitals and part-time administration assistant for a Uniting Church congregation.

Shake It Up this World Parkinson’s Day

Redfern local of 18 years, Emma, is proof you can’t keep a good woman down. In May 2017 she was our cover girl to help boost awareness for multiple sclerosis, a disease she had been living with for seven years. It’s been a tough time since, as she was diagnosed...

Experts swap lecture halls and boardrooms for local bars and pubs

On Tuesday April 9, for one night only, 10 venues across Sydney will help boost your intellect and host 20 free talks about “Healthier Futures” – with topics including the benefits of riding public transport with dogs, how big vape is hooking the next generation and wearable technology that can improve your mental health.

Batmobile to the rescue

I was on my bike, a block and a half into my monthly (March) deliveries of the South Sydney Herald around my home in the Waterloo public housing estate walk-ups, when I noticed a bat struggling on its back on the sidewalk. I’d never been this close to a...