Maroubra Junction Uniting Church is an community in the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney. Their 'Project Green Church' initiative is making practical changes to their congregation in response to environmental issues.
What did you do?
Maroubra Junction Uniting Church got together with Gracepoint Christian Church Randwick (a Baptist Church) to organise Clean Up Australia Day at Coogee Beach in March 2008. Gracepoint had been involved in Clean Up Australia Day for about five years. This was the first year that the two churches worked together. We ran a series of clean ups in various sites at Coogee, and after the clean up we had a community festival on the theme “reduce, reuse, recycle”. The festival had environmental stalls and speakers, community games, kids activities, food, bands, and community art.
Why did you do it?
Clean Up Australia Day is a flagship day for environmental awareness and action. It’s also a way that we can build relationships and work together with a diversity of other churches and community groups to help bring "good news" in our locality.
How did you do it?
A team of half a dozen people from Maroubra Junction and Gracepoint Church looked after the planning for the event. Other people from both churches helped us on the day - looking after things like site setup, running community games etc. Randwick City Council supported the event in various ways, including covering some of the expenses for the day.
Who was involved?
In addition to our churches, there were many other people and community groups involved in the event.
- 64 volunteers joined us for the clean up (on a very rainy morning)
- Randwick City Council staff helped with the planning and coordination of the cleanup
- Fusion helped with community games, including centre games face painting, juggling and more
- Musicians (Wintersound and Chrissy Howe) played at the festival
- La Perouse Public School and Paddington/Woolahra Scouts Division participated in an art competition
- Sydney artist Pat Pillai ran recycled art activities
- Environmental stallholders: Randwick City Council, Climate Action Coogee, Clean Up Australia, Jackgreen, and the Girl Guides
- Speakers: Clr Bruce Notley-Smith (Mayor of Randwick City), John Dee (for Jackgreen), Ian Kiernan (founder of Clean Up Australia), and an environmental panel
How much did it cost?
What problems did you have and how did you overcome them?
A small disappointment, after all the planning, was the rain on the day. Nonetheless, we still had a good number of volunteers cleaning up. The weather also cleared in time for a great community festival.
There is alot of organisation involved in an ambitious event such as this, which taxed our organisers heavily - a number of whom were new to event organisation. Still the relationships that we built in our planning team and with others in the broader community was more than worth the effort.
What is the outcome?
Two churches - Maroubra Junction Uniting and Gracepoint, have grown closer together as a result of this work. Randwick Council is supportive of our efforts, and is encouraging us to run an similar event at a different beach next year. We have the satisfaction of having been able to put on such a fantastic event in the local community. And we hope that a growing number of groups will join in in future years.
Maroubra Junction Uniting Church (now Hope Uniting Church) website: http://hopeuniting.org.au
Gracepoint Baptist Church: http://www.gracepoint.com.au
Clean Up Australia: http://www.cleanup.org.au/au/