The Uniting Church says that God's purpose for the world is the renewal and reconciliation of all creation. The Earth is good in and of itself, not just because it is useful to humans.
The ecofaith community was started as part of the Mid North Coast Presbytery's effort to be part of the process of the reconciliation and renewal of all creation.
On the one hand, to explore the kind of theology which will reconcile us back into our proper place in the community of life.
On the other, in prayer and contemplation and sharing, to encourage and inspire each other as we play our part in renewing Earth.
Very loosely this involves acknowledging the negative aspects of religious and secular tradition regarding the environment, seeking out the positive, creating new insights (especially with the help of the sciences) and eventually transforming our thoughts and our selves.
The community which formed in 2009-11 were mostly ex church people, who understood that their relationship with God/Spirit is connected to their relationship with the environment/creation. Hence eco/faith.
With many of those people having moved out of town, we are seeing whether there is interest in a new community forming, whcih may be similar or different. By the end of Winter 2013 we should have our answer.
What is faith? On that point the community was more diverse, the challenge being for people to answer that question for themselves, rather than be told the answer.
As minister of the community, I see my role largely as being holding open a space where people of all kinds of faith perspectives or none can come together to be part of this renewal and reconciliation. But if you want to know more about where I'm coming from personally, you can look through some of the articles and so on I've put together in previous years to get a sense of where I am coming from, or there is a brief blurb about me here.
Jesus' gospel as recorded in Mark was basically, "God is here- do something about it." That seems like a good starting point for a faith community. It is clear in the bible that Jesus was understood in a range of ways. Some saw him as a glutton and drunkard, a madman or an agent of the devil. A threat to everything they held dear.
Some of his followers (think Mark, Matthew, Luke and Paul) saw him as - to use a modern analogy - the finger pointing to God. Others, like John, believed him to be God's very self on Earth, or at least God's unique and divine ambassador.
Some believed that he had come and declared the path to forgiveness, others that he was actually the vehicle of our forgiveness.
The diversity of opinions about Jesus is intentionally preserved at ecofaith. Not so much the agent of the devil- but his words certainly do at times continue to threaten everything we hold dear!
The ancients interpreted Jesus and his life and work through the lense of the creation stories they inherited in Genesis, and the faith history in the rest of the "Old Testament." How will we interpret Jesus in the light of those stories, plus the new creation stories emerging form the sciences, plus the faith histories from cultures around the world which the Old Testament writers never dreamed existed?
The Gumbaynggirr and their ancestors, for example, lived in Australia with the Creator for tens of thousands of years before Jesus, or even Abraham, was born. What can they teach us about faith and the ecos?
We meet outside not as a matter of style, but because it is hoped that by escaping a human building we will see God less as a big human. By surrounding ourselves in worship with Life, we will come to see ourselves as part of Life, and discover the God of Life.
God who is
---- *personal, but not just human
---- *as much female as male, but actually neither
---- * beyond us and our imaginations and definitions
---- * one with us, perhaps even having become one of us,
.......... as many Christians believe
---- * within us and all of life,
---- * amongst us as we gather
That should be enough to give you some sense of the group and/or the ideas behind it. On the what we do page it includes a list of what we've explored, which might tell you a little more.