Tanya Benton

Hope for Creation Sunday – Baulkham Hills Baptist Church

On Sunday 31 August, the Catalyst group at Baulkham Hills Baptist Church held a Hope for Creation event. Catalyst groups are the initiative of Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) who equip churches with the resources to engage in social justice advocacy. The Catalyst group at Baulkham Hills Baptist Church aims to address social injustice through advocacy, education and action within our church and community.

Early this year the Catalyst group conducted a survey to establish how our church family related to different social justice issues in terms of being informed and actively involved. Over 60% of people who participated in the survey  expressed an interest in climate change and environmental justice and 67% of participants said they knew little or nothing about climate change. For that reason, the church decided to challenge itself to learn more and find ways to respond.

Ben Thurley, the Hope for Creation coordinator for , preached at both the morning and evening services. His message was focused on the hospitality of God – in creation, and in care for the vulnerable and inclusion of the poor. He spoke from Genesis chapter 1 to highlight that creation is an act of God’s hospitality and linked it with the parable of the great banquet in Luke chapter 14 to emphasise that God’s heart and hospitality includes justice and inclusion for the poor and vulnerable. Seeking justice for the poor and caring for creation is not  an optional extra for Christian faith – it is central to our spiritual identity and purpose: “It is part of who we are.”

Ben spoke about the science of climate change and environmental degradation and how these are affecting the vulnerable and the poor – making hard lives even harder. We all need to think reflectively, theologically and critically about the choices we make every day and the direct impact of climate change on poor and vulnerable people throughout the world. As Christians and advocates for social justice we are called to reflect the image of our Creator.

We are called to worship a loving and hospitable God, to raise our voices prayerfully and powerfully by responding to the needs of others and following the example of Jesus to seek justice.

Christians have always been called to live in loving response to the hospitable and gracious God. In the 21st Century, our love for God and our love for our neighbours in the global village must take into account a disrupted climate and the human capacity to do both harm and good on a global scale.

About the author: Tanya Benton is a member of the Catalyst group at Baulkham Hills Baptist Church


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