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60 Christian leaders urge PM to act on climate change

The following letter was sent to the Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia on May 22, 2019, shortly after the re-election of his government. It was signed by over 60 Christian leaders, including nine members of the University of Divinity community. 

The letter was published online by Rev Dr Michael Frost.

Dear Prime Minister,

We are a group of Christian leaders representing eight denominations and twelve organisations from across five states.

Firstly, we wanted to congratulate you on your election win, and to assure you of our continued good wishes and prayers as you lead our nation into the future.

In particular, we hope and pray that your government will be able to maintain a broad policy platform in which the needs of the rest of the world and the needs of future generations are considered as seriously as the needs of present-day Australians.

In the light of this, we would encourage you to be aware of our responsibility as caretakers and stewards of the natural world. Our cultural heritage, steeped in the biblical tradition sees its first responsibility, outlined in Genesis, as that of caring for the creation God has given us. The bible both begins and ends with God’s presence on Earth overseeing the wise stewardship of all of nature. Until that time, our responsibility is to manage it for the benefit of all creation and not just with the short term in mind.

In saying this, we are also aware of how much there is to learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as God’s appointed original custodians of these lands and waters. The need to listen to them and their Christian leaders is vitally important as they report on the effects of climate change and industry in the Torres Strait and Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia.

Although our population, on a world scale, is small, we are among the world’s biggest per capita contributors to greenhouse gas pollution. With the opportunity afforded to you by this election result, we would like to call for a reset of political thinking. This is an opportunity to define your leadership as one marked by imagination, courage and conscience. This moment in our history is a chance to make a significant shift on the issue of climate change. We think our credibility in the world, our moral responsibility to our global neighbours, and our influence on others will be diminished unless we go further than the Kyoto protocols or Paris agreement.

We are called to love our neighbours, particularly those of poorer nations who face catastrophe if the rich nations do not act.  We are called to steward the environment facilitating its protection and improvement not contributing to land and water degradation and species extinction. Ultimately we are accountable, not just to electorates, but (using an analogy by Jesus), to the ‘owner of the vineyard’.

We appreciate that politically there are challenges on this issue of which, you will be very familiar. There are economic challenges regarding the very real need for jobs, in for example, the mining industry. These sorts of issues make it difficult for leaders to find win-win solutions for both the communities concerned and for the environment. However, we also think that a strong economic case can be made for getting on the front foot in terms of clean energy and environmental protections as well as providing aid for nations most immediately at risk from climate change.

The task is urgent, and we hope that ‘for such an hour as this’ your government will be up to the challenge.

This letter is meant as a gentle encouragement, Prime Minister, for you to be strong and courageous in the light of your calling. We absolutely assure you of our continued prayers for your government on this and other issues.

Yours faithfully,

Rev Dr Michael Frost, Baptist Churches of NSW

Rev Julian Holdsworth, dchurched.com, Vic

Pastor Jarrod McKenna, Sanctuary Church, WA

Rev Dr John Dickson, minister, Anglican Diocese of Sydney, NSW

Rev Nathan Campbell, Presbyterian Church of Queensland

Major Deborah Robinson, Eva Burrows College, University of Divinity, Salvation Army, Vic

Ms Brooke Prentis, Aboriginal spokesperson, Common Grace, NSW

Mr Dave Andrews, Waiters Union, Community Initiatives Resource Association, Qld

Dr Ruth Powell, Director, NCLS Research, NSW

Pastor Brad Chilcott, Founder, Welcoming Australia, SA

Mr Joel Mckerrow, Tear Australia, Vic

Ms Kylie Maddox Pidgeon, St Marks National Theological Centre, CSU, NSW

Rev Ray Minniecon, Sydney Anglican Indigenous People’s Committee, NSW

Rev Elenie Poulos, minister, Uniting Church in Australia, NSW

Rev Dr Gordon Preece, director, Ethos: Centre for Christianity and Society, Vic

Rev Chris Bedding, rector, Anglican Parish of Darlington-Bellevue, WA

Rev Dr Geoff Broughton, rector, Paddington Anglican Church, Charles Sturt University, NSW

Rev Dr Andrew Menzies, principal, Stirling Theological College, University of Divinity, Vic

Rev Dr Karina Kreminski, Morling College (Baptist), NSW

Dr Matthew Anslow, Australian Anabaptist Association, NSW

Ms Naomi Swindon, Scripture Union, Vic

Mr John Beckett, Seed Initiatives, NSW

Rev Scott Higgins, Director, A Just Cause, NSW

Dr Jonathan Foye, Uniting Church, NSW

Mr Matthew Darvas, Micah Challenge, NSW

Dr Liz Boase, Adelaide College of Divinity, Sa

Mr Nils von Kalm, Anglican Overseas Aid, Vic

Mr Geoff Folland, chaplain, University of Sydney, NSW

Pastor Josh Dowton, Northside Baptist Church, NSW

Rev Stephen Barrington, CEO Foothills Community Care, Churches of Christ, Vic

Ms Mary E Fisher, retired missionary and pastor, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Vic

Rev Andrew Palmer, Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT

Rev Dr Graham Hill, Global Church Project, NSW

Rev David Fuller, Senior Minister, All Saints Anglican church, Greensborough, Vic

Rev Breeana Mills, Glen Waverley Anglican Church, Vic

Pastor Dan Sweetman, Senior Pastor, Life Point Church, Qld

Rev Megan Powell du Toit, Baptist minister, Australian College of Theology, NSW

Rev Paul Walton, West End Uniting Church, Qld

Pastor Sam Hearn, Jigsaw Baptist Church, Vic

Rev Stu Cameron, Newlife Church, Qld

Rev Dr Vicky Balabanski, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, SA

Adam Gowen, Reach Australia Network, Acts Global Churches, NSW

Pastor Vikki Howorth, Seaforth Baptist Church, NSW

Ms Cate Vose, director online learning, Vose Seminary, Baptist Churches, WA

Rev Kenn Baker, Placed Wesleyan Methodist Faith Community, Qld

Kerrie Polkinghorne, Lead Pastor, Activate Church, SA

Rev Dr Darrell Jackson, Morling College, Baptist Churches of NSW

Dr Armen Gakavian, Associate Director, Ethos: Centre for Christianity and Society, NSW

Major Adam Couchman, lecturer, Eva Burrows College, Salvation Army, Vic

Ms Margaret Mowczko, writer, MargMowczko.com

Ms Bianca Manning, Common Grace, NSW

Pastor Kim Hammond, lead pastor, Citylife Church, Casey, Vic

Rev Janet Woodlock, minister, Churches of Christ, Vic

Mr Scott Sanders, former CEO, Common Grace, NSW

Dr Mick Pope, Ethos: Centre for Christianity and Society, NSW

Rev Luke Williams, Follow Baptist Church, Vic

Rev John Gilmore, Churches of Christ Global Mission Partners, Vic

Rev Dr Tim Hein, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, SA

Rev Simon Rattray, Director, Project114, Qld

Rev Mike Wardrop, minister, Encounter Church, SA

Ms Jessie Sanders, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, SA

Dr Rene Erwich, Whitley College, University of Divinity, Baptist Churches of Vic

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