Uniting Climate Conference In-Person Program

Uniting Climate Conference: Faith in a Better Future Overview

Jump to In-Person Workshop Program

In-person attendees will be provided with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea for free.

Conference 8.30am-4.45pm (9am start)

Opening and Keynote Sessions

Welcome to Country: Julie Jones Webb (Chair and Dharug Director Dharug Strategic Management Group)

Proud Dharug woman, Traditional Custodian and Knowledge Keeper from multiple fresh and saltwater clans.

Address from Uniting Church Synod of NSW.ACT Moderator Mata Havea Hiliau

Keynote Address: Uniting for Climate Justice

Miriam Lyons (Sunrise Project)

Director of the Australian Energy Transformation Program at the Sunrise Project. Miriam has over two decades of experience as a progressive campaigner, policy analyst and commentator. She has held a variety of leadership roles, including Climate Justice Campaigns Director at GetUp.

Video addresses:

  • Senator David Pocock Australian politician and former professional rugby union player
  • Bill McKibben American environmentalist, author, journalist, co-founder and Senior Advisor of climate organisation 350.org

Young Changemakers Panel

Featuring community leaders, Uniting Church members and climate activists

Raul Sugunananthan (Uniting Church National Assembly) 

Raul is a second generation Australian of Sri-Lankan Tamil and Chilean heritage. He is a member of Leichhardt Uniting Church and works for the Uniting Church National Assembly as a Policy and Advocacy Officer. He is passionate about taking up Jesus’ call to stand with the marginalised by taking relational action on issues of social and climate justice. 

Grace Vegesana (Australian Youth Climate Coalition AYCC)

Grace is the Climate & Racial Justice Director at the AYCC based in Western Sydney on Dharug Country. She believes in a better, brighter, and more climate-resilient world for young people to inherit and thrive in, and works to bring those dreams into reality through supporting volunteer-led grassroots movements at the AYCC. She is part of the congregation at Leichhardt Uniting Church.  

Rosaline Parker (Young Women’s Pacific Collective)

Rosaline is a woman of Samoan background living in western Sydney and is a member of the Young Women’s Pacific Collective. She is passionate about how climate change is affecting the Pacific and threatening Pasifika peoples connection to culture, here and in the islands, which is one reason she is a long Pacific cultural performer. Roseline works as an intensive therapeutic caseworker. 

Hayden Charles (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress UAICC)

Hayden is a recognised youth leader with an exemplary track record in Indigenous advocacy. As National Chairperson for UAICC National Youth, Hayden will provide unique advisory regarding cultural acknowledgment and service outcomes. He currently works as a Social Responsibility Advisor at SKG Services.

Morning tea: 11.05-11.25am

In-Person Workshop Program

Session 1: 11.30am-12.30pm (3 options)

Workshop title


Speaker(s) Bio

Voices for Power – Organising for Climate Justice with Marginalised Communities

Asha Ramzan and Nirmal Joy – Sydney Community Forum

Sydney Community Forum has led the community engagement and organising of Sydney’s migrant communities on Climate & Energy through the Voices for Power (VfP) Project since it began almost 10 years ago.

VfP is a migrant community-led climate justice and energy equity initiative of the Sydney Alliance—a coalition of civil society organisations working towards the common good of this city, SCF is a founding member of the Sydney Alliance.  

Our work is grounded in the values and practices of a relational culture built on mutual respect and trust, and action oriented on shared issues and concerns. In practice, it means we put time and energy to build trust with migrant community and faith leaders in Western and South-Western Sydney to establish cultural safety so we can listen deeply and widely to these communities about their climate and energy-related concerns and issues.

This workshop will explore the praxis of the values and activities that the VfP is grounded in, what the impact is of our work and why it’s important in the Climate Justice/Energy Equity space.

Nirmal Joy is the Multicultural Social Justice Coordinator at Sydney Community Forum. He leads the Voices for Power Advocacy project. He is a cultural researcher by training and a passionate social inclusion advocate. Before migrating to Australia in 2017, he worked among the Dalit and Adivasi communities in India, advocating for their education and employment issues. 

Asha Ramzan is the Executive Officer of Sydney Community Forum, a role she has held since 2008.

Sydney Community Forum is a for-purpose community development organisation working towards social justice, inclusion and sustainability outcomes for socially & economically disadvantaged communities in Sydney.
Asha has worked in various management, therapeutic, community development and teaching roles in the Community Services Sector since 1989. She is particularly interested in the intersection of social marginalisation and economic disadvantage and how this impacts the lives of people from diverse cultural backgrounds in Australia

Love Our Neighbours: How the Pacific Leads on Climate Advocacy

Joseph Sikulu – 350 Pacific

This workshop will highlight the ways Pacific voices are at the frontlines of advocacy on stronger climate action including the work of the Pacific Climate Warriors and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. It will explore what needs to change for Australia to become a better neighbour and partner in our region and make difference on the lives of everyday people. This includes what Australia jointly hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties with Pacific countries means for international climate action. It will also look into what it means to meaningfully support and amplify this work to protect our planet and its people and the role people of faith can play. 

Joseph Sikulu is a Tongan man from Ha’apai and Vaini in Tongatapu and grew up on Dharug country, Western Sydney. He is an Environmental, Cultural and Queer activist who has work over the last 10 years to build a movement of strong Pacific Climate Warriors across Pacific communities both on island and in the diaspora. He is a Climate Change campaigner and advocate, the Managing Director for 350.org Pacific, serves on the Secretariat for the Pacific Climate Warriors and is a Pacific Champion for the Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty. 

Climate Justice is First Nations Justice!: What Real Allyship Looks Like

Hayden Charles – Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress

This workshop will look at the impacts of climate change (and extractive industries that fuel climate change) on First Nation’s peoples and communities. This includes grief around impacts on traditional country, the ability to practice culture and pass it on and harm to Aboriginal identity and spirituality. We will discuss how non – Aboriginal people can be good allies with First Nation’s peoples as they address these challenges. We will identify what being a good ally looks like and what it doesn’t look like. We’ll consider what steps governments must take to better acknowledge and support First Nation people’s rights with respect to country. We’ll consider ways we can take the next step in acting in solidarity with First Nations peoples in our own contexts. 

Hayden is a recognised youth leader with an exemplary track record in Indigenous advocacy. As National Chairperson for UAICC National Youth, Hayden will provide unique advisory regarding cultural acknowledgment and service outcomes. He currently works as a Social Responsibility Advisor at SKG Services.

Lunch: 12.30-1.20pm

Session 2: 1.20-2.20pm (3 options)

Workshop title


Speaker(s) Bio

Climate Conversations: how to talk about climate change with family, friends and others

Ken Enderby – Climate for Change

In campaigning for change, the words and frames we use are incredibly important. This workshop will explore frameworks and tools that you can use to help you have effective and impactful conversations about climate justice with friends, family, colleagues, and others around you. If we want to change the narrative and bring people onside, in an environment when misinformation is rife and values are key, we need to know how to speak powerfully and confidently about the issue. 

Ken Enderby has degrees in history and economics from Macquarie and Sydney Universities respectively. In 2020, he completed a course on climate science at Queensland University. Ken has been a campaigner for peace, human rights and economic development for over 40 years, working on projects in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Before retiring, he was the Head Teacher of Career Pathways at Bankstown TAFE. He is currently the president of Climate Action Burwood/Canada Bay. He also works as a facilitator with Climate 4 Change and a mentor with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

Ken has written for both radio and television, and is the author of the novel Trail of Deceit, published in 2011. More recently, he is the author of Climate Myths and How to Respond to Them, which looks at 107 misconceptions about climate change and renewable energy.

Climate impacts on our health (and what we can do about it)

Dr Lai Heng Foong and Dr Kim Loo – Drs for the Environment

The health of the planet is at risk and so is yours! Explore the ways climate change affects different aspects of human health and what you can do about it. Find out what the different impacts are, how to identify them in your communities and practical ways you can respond. Also get the tools you need to talk about climate change as a health issue.

Dr Foong is an Emergency Physician based in Sydney who has a passion for Public Health and Disaster preparedness including COVID-19 preparedness, Climate change and health impacts, Indigenous Health and the social determinants of health. She is a mother to two children, two cats and a dog, all of whom she hopes will inherit a safer and more sustainable future. 

Dr Kim is a mother with two adult children and a GP. She has been working in general practice for over 3 decades in Western Sydney . Kim  has seen the impacts of rising temperatures , fires ,smoke , floods and mould devastate the lives of patients. Kim has been working to educate and empower her community through her organisation Doctors for the Environment Australia , NSW  AMA and RACGP Council  

Climate Action: What does faith add?

Gawaine Powell Davies – ARRCC

Climate action reflects our deepest values for many of us, these relate to our faith. In this workshop we will use case studies and group discussion to explore what faith can contribute to climate action: providing principles and values to act on; providing strength and clarity of purpose; and opening up opportunities that may not be available to other forms of climate action.

Gawaine Powell Davies is a sometimes reluctant climate activist. As a member of the ARRCC committee he values the different ways in which faith shapes people’s approach to the climate crisis.  As Chair of the Buddhist Council of NSW and past Chair of the Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils he is keen to encourage greater Buddhist participation in climate activism.  

Uniting Church Climate Action and Strategy Briefing

Uniting Church Climate Action Snapshot

Hear from different parts of the Uniting Church on the work already being done to take meaningful action on Climate Change.

Hear about what’s next for the Uniting Climate Action Network in the leadup to the Federal election, upcoming international negotiations and find out how you can get involved in acting for a safer future for all.

Afternoon tea: 3.10-3.30pm

Reflection, Next Steps and Close

Time to discuss and reflect on what you’ve heard. Voting process on key areas of the Uniting Advocacy Climate Strategy. Work as a group to identify next steps and actions for the Uniting Climate Action Network.

Conference wrap-up and benediction.

Conference Close: 4.45pm