This year Neighbours Day is in its 10th year in New Zealand, and to mark this milestone, Neighbours Day is celebrating with 10 days - 22-31 March - of neighbourliness.
Caring for creation in our neighbourhoods is one way to build community. Parishes around New Zealand are involved in cleaning up local parks, in maintaining local reserves, creating community gardens and much more.
As Very Rev Dr Graham Redding puts it in his introduction to the Church’s Caring for Creation study booklet, humans have a two-fold responsibility when it comes to the natural world: as both priests of creation and stewards of creation.
Made in God’s image, we are called to continue God’s blessing of Creation, preserving its beauty, nurturing its fruitfulness, and offering back to the Creator that which originally came from God’s hand.
Let us embrace this responsibility this Neighbours Day, by joining with each other to nurture the natural spaces – parks, reserves, community gardens, waterways, beaches – in our communities.
Read the Moderator Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio's Neighbours Day 2019 Lenten message to the Church. "...I think Lent a good season to consider how we are being good neighbours to God’s creation. In observing our own connection to our faith, we could reflect on how we might do more to care for the green spaces of our church, home and neighbourhood.
"What changes could we make in our lifestyle habits? In what ways do our choices harm God’s creation – its people, creatures and the Earth itself? God’s covenant is with all peoples and, let’s not forget, with the animals and plants (Genesis 9:9-10; Hosea 2:18)....Together we can plant a small seed and nurture positive change."
Native seed giveaway
We have 100 packets of Yates native seeds to give away to Presbyterian and Uniting parishes. Seeds will be allocated on a first come-first served basis. Priority will be given to those projects that are community-facing, and will not be available to spruce up the parish garden (unless it’s open to neighbourhood use). Fill in the form below to apply for seeds. Multiple packets of seeds are available for larger projects, so tell us about your initiative, and what sort of seeds you’d like and how many packets, and then we’ll be in contact.
Click on this link to find out more about the types of seeds available. (Please note that the tussock grass is shown, but not available.)
Apply for seeds now!
Email the following information to us:
- Contact person and their phone and email
- A 300 word (max) description of the project that the seeds will be used for.
- Indicate your preferred native seed type(s) (indicate your first, second and third preference)
- Indicate the total number of seed packets you would like (and if you are requesting more than one seed type, please specific the number of packets of each seed type)
Email Angela from the Communications team and please note that applications close Tue, 12 March.
See the DOC website for information on planning and planting a native garden.
Getting involved in Neighbours Day
Planting natives isn’t the only way to get involved in Neighbours Day. If there is a park, walkway or other public area in your community that could do with a little bit of love, Neighbours Day provides a great opportunity to organise a clean-up day. Organise a group from church - and invite your neighbours - to come together, grab some gloves and rubbish bags, and connect with each other while making your community look amazing. Follow it up with bit of good old-fashioned Kiwi hospitality and share a cuppa or afternoon tea after a job well-done.
See the Neighbours Day website for other ideas about how to get involved…
Around the country, Presbyterians are rolling up their sleeves and taking action to promote the well being of not only our communities, but also the whenua (land) which is integral to to the Kiwi way of life.
- In 2018, the Church committed to reducing our impact on the environment, acknowledging the important role we as Christians play in being stewards of God’s creation. A list of simple, achievable and measurable actions aimed at reducing our collective impact on the environment was sent to all parishes to implement. Read more
- In 2015, the Church made a submission to Government on the consultation for setting New Zealand’s post-2020 climate change target.
- In 2014, the Church made a decision to consider divestment of fossil fuels from its investment portfolio. Work is underway.
- In 2009, leaders of several of several denominations, including the Presbyterian Church, presented a paper to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Read "Protecting New Zealand’s environment and economy for current and future generations"
- In 2008, the Church accepted a declaration on the climate and environment prepared by the Church's Ecological Task Group. Read the Church's declaration on the climate and environment
Spanz includes many stories that demonstrate the practical ways Presbyterian churches throughout New Zealand are responding to complex environmental challenges.
- Power to the People project (Summer 2018)
- Young Presbyterians advocating for our earth (Autumn 2016)
- Climate change hot topic at WCC Auckland summit (Summer 2015)
- Church speaks out on climate change (Spring 2015)
- The ecological crisis: a Christian response (Summer 2012)
- The sustainable church (Sep 2008)
You may find the resources and ideas within this Church study guide useful for inspiring, planning, or using during your Neigbours Day outreach to care for creation.
Caring for our World Art Works
The theme for the Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support Family Works 2018 "Love Reaches Out" art and writing competition was 'Caring for Our World’. See the art works here and contact Kids Friendly to request to use a magnificent artwork for your parish Neighbours Day event.
- World Council of Churches 2019 7 Weeks of Water study
- Living Lent eco-practices 2019
- Christian Ecology UK Lenten studies
- Operation Noah Lenten course on climate change
- PCUSA Lenten studies
Tell us what you are doing
So you’ve decided to get involved, great! Let us know. Email us, and we’ll publicise your event on the Church’s Facebook page. Also send us some photos.