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In the Guardian online, Brian Draper has published an inspiring and challenging article: “Church’s vision can guide the young.”

Gen Y has very little contact with, or understanding of, the Church or Christian faith. So says the Church of England – in a report published last week – along with other thinkers on the issue.

He writes that the youth of today have neither the hang-ups about the church that some Gen Xers have carried, or the wisdom and insight about life that our faith tradition is so rich.

Yet there is hope, says Draper. Despite facebook, twitter, and the other aspects of the internet that so attracts their attention and defines this new generation, many Gen Y’s are “…keen to make a meaningful, positive difference through who they are and what they do.”

And it is a good thing too, argues Draper, because these young people are decision makers for the future. He continues:

they are the first generation which has no choice but to reject the short-termism, greed and ecological indifference which has taken us to the verge of planetary catastrophe.”

The message of Draper’s article is this: the church plays an important and vital role to play in helping these young people. The Church holds a vision of the world, of the Kingdom of God, that can equip and inspire this young generation to live in hope. And they are not going to understand or take up this vision unless they see it enacted by those who hold it most dear: us.

Draper asks:

Where else could they find such a vision?”

(Would we want them to go elswhere anyway?)

And what a gift to give others: a way of life that leads to life: today, tomorrow and the hereafter.

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Bikes parked outside the University of Groningen, Netherlands

This year, the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change is initiating a Ride to Worship Week.

Why?

To care for God’s creation, to express concern for those living in poverty, and because cycling has so many benefits in and of itself.

ARRCC has been inspired by “Ride to Work Day.”

Last year 95,000 Australians celebrated ‘Ride to Work’ at one of the 137 community breakfasts. This year the wheels will be turning around the country on Wednesday 13th October. See here for more details.

Ride to Work is all about health. Held on one day a year, the promoters hope that some participants will be inspired and encouraged to ride a bit more often, whether that be twice a year, once a month, or perhaps everyday.

The day is about encouraging healthy….

  • people – that’s you and I and Bob down the road,
  • lifestyles – because it can be good to get outdoors a bit more and away from the TV set,
  • society – because riding can be fun, especially if you ride with a friend,
  • economics – more riding means less driving, which means less household money spent on fuel for the car tank, and
  • environment – bottoms on bikes rather than car seats reduces emissions, noise pollution, and can even create a safer local environment for our kids playing outdoors

In that same spirit, ARRCC is promoting Ride to Worship Week. As a multi-faith environmental organisation, ARRCC realises that many Australians are inspired and motivated by their faith, and they see Ride to Worship as a catalist for bringing faith together with loving-action.

This first Ride to Worship week will be held from Saturday 9th to Friday 15th October. During that week, ARRCC is encouraging people to ride or walk to and from their place of worship (on whichever day they normally attend worship).

One person can do it on their own, or others at your place of worship may be interested as well.

For more information, leaflets, a poster, power point presentation as well as guidelines on how to participate see here.

To register, see here.

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“…we join in celebrating with Christ the wonders of creation”.

I’m not a greenie, and I’m not a tree-hugger, but I reckon that caring for creation is an important part of my faith.

So, how can my church learn about and respond to God’s creation?

In September 2004 a resource called Season of Creation was trialled in about 50 congregations in Melbourne and Adelaide. Since then, churches around Australia and the world have incorporated it into their worship services, designed to run over four weeks starting in September. These churches are seeking to reflect on and be thankful for the Creator God and for God’s gift of creation.

“Christ is at the heart of our celebrations.”

This ecumenical resource has been developed for any church wanting to explore God’s love for the earth in their services. It offers suggestions and materials for churches to use in church services including:

  • Themes for each week, and three broader themes that rotate over a three-year cycle.
  • Talks to the children.
  • Bible studies that correspond with the weekly themes.
  • Bible readings.
  • Sermons based on Bible study materials, theology or the childrens’ talk.
  • Entire liturgies.

For each of the three series the Bible readings follow a broad pattern of creation, alienation, passion and new creation.

If you like some ideas and not others, or even agree with some – but not all – of the theology or terminology in the liturgy, the authors say that your church is welcome to adapt it to suit.

Even if your church doesn’t use this resource, perhaps it could inspire you and your church to think about what you believe, and be a catalyst for thinking about how you would like to draw thankfulness to God for the world into your worship.

“…we face the ecological crisis with Christ, and we serve Christ in the healing of creation.”

This resource has been produced by Norman Habel and the Justice and International Mission of the Uniting Church in Australia.

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