Wander and Wonder Eden

An activity of St George’s Eden Uniting Church for people interested in exploring the environment in terms of faith and spirituality.

Wander and Wonder has been an activity of St George’s Eden Uniting Church for anyone interested in exploring the environment in terms of faith and spirituality.   The format is a walk with somebody guiding in an area of their specific interest, with time for reflection and meditation, as well as a picnic or cuppa.  It has now effectively merged with the Garden of Eden Community Project, seeking connection with the Creator, earth and all humanity.   The exploration will continue, as people wonder about faith and environmental issues (both in terms of questioning and worship), and journey together in caring for creation, thinking globally and acting locally.

Activities in 2009

Wander and Wonder continued in February 2009 with a wander along the beach to Bournda Island, with Bob and Wendy Ross, wondering about the origin of a large coconut (and other beachcombing trash and treasure) on ocean currents.  Around a shared meal there was a time of wondering about wildlife after the Victorian bushfires.

In April, Keith Crook and Anne Felton led a walk along the beach by The Pinnacles, wondering at changes over geological timescale.  A sheltered area was more comfortable for quiet reflection and sharing over a picnic.

Enjoying hot soup from the Uniting Church’s Garden of Eden on 5 June, World Environment Day, we focused on the global theme of Climate Change, reading from the Buddhist Statement in Common Belief: Australia’s Faith Communities on Climate Change (2008).

At the Eden Whale Festival Open Garden in November, the community was again invited to wander around the Garden, pausing at various points (with laminated sheets) for reflection.

“Wander and Wonder” was the approach to worship and the meeting of the Presbytery, acknowledging aboriginal custodianship of the land as we gathered around a “camp fire” garden being constructed by members of the aboriginal community, with a reading from Dadirri by Miriam-Rose Ungenmerr (1988).

Activities in 2008

In March, a group of about 15 people shared stories of life around Boydtown from the 1840s; some members had lived around here in the 1960s, ‘70’s and ‘80s.  We walked up to the old Boydtown Church, and down to a quiet spot under the trees in front of the Seahorse Inn.   Acknowledging the aboriginal people “of the mountains and the coast” who would have travelled through the area, we paused to reflect on aboriginal spirituality of Dadirri

In April, after lunch (including our own cob oven pizza), Glenda Wood told us about the development of the “semi-circle garden” in front of St George’s Church.   A walk to the wharf then demonstrated the success of local native plantings on Warren’s Walk, (for which she and others received a special award for NSW Sustainable Gardens in 2007!)  

In June, cool winter evenings were the time to start a discussion group relating faith and environment issues.  Keith Bashford opened questions on bioethics and genetic manipulation, and there was considerable agreement that science and technology are not going to be able to solve all our problems! We decided to call our discussion group WIAAA…  “What’s It All About, Alfie?”  

In July, Graeme and Janice Nelson helped us look at Future Scenarios with Peak Oil and Climate Change.  It was fantastic to realise there is such knowledge and experience in our midst, and a willingness to look at working towards living more sustainably.

This was also an introduction to another Open Forum at which John Champagne introduced “Transition Towns”.   He showed “The Power of Community” about the Cuban response to a dramatic reduction in oil imports in the 1990s.

In August, Anne Felton highlighted several different faith statements on the environment.

In October we visited Panboola Wetlands, and explored a variety of different habitats encouraging bird life.

Activities in 2007 

In 2007 we shared several talks with the St George’s Garden of Eden Community Project, itself concerned with developing an eco-conscious  and wonder-filled garden, and a lively community art and cultural centre.

In March some people attended Jenny Spinks’ Backhouse Lecture in Bega, titled “Support for our true selves – nurturing the space where leadings flow”, first given in Hobart in January at the annual national gathering of Australian Friends.

In April Laurie Geoghegan spoke about kayaking in the Antarctic, including a fantastic film showing the melting ice.

To celebrate World Environment Day in June we wandered around the Goodenia Rainforest, off Mt Darragh Road from South Pambula, and wondered at some truly beautiful fungi.   Some captured the moment in photos, pictures and poetry.

Later in June we had a Friday Forum on Energy Solutions.   Dr Matthew Nott (Bega) from Clean Energy for Eternity talked about a number of community actions.   Dr Peter Coppin from CSIRO looked at a variety of global and national energy solutions.

In September Geoff Callaghan, from the Climate Change Institute, spoke about the important role of faith communities in leading awareness and action on Climate Change issues.

Our second Wander and Wonder walk was at Kiah, around Wondilla, the property of John and Natalie Houghton.

John demonstrated his work with horses as therapy, helping develop self-awareness.

Thanks to all our speakers we had a really interesting year, both walking and talking.   Let us pray that we may be transformed to live and walk the talk, so that we touch the earth lightly.

Activities in 2006

We were amazed by the great variety of nightlife under Merimbula Boardwalk at low tide.

Pastor Ossie Cruse showed us round the Keeping Place at Jigamy Farm, including how canoes were made in different places.

We also visited the Bega Eco-Neighbourhood Development (BEND) to see the land that is being developed for sustainable living, with its own solar energy, water supply and sewerage treatment.

We finished 2006 with a walk in Bournda National Park, and a meditation at a beautiful rock platform.