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Catherine Helen Spence Oration 2019 – Senator Sarah Hansen-Young

2019 Catherine Helen Spence Oration: Delivered Monday, November 4, 2019

The Moral Imperative of Climate Change Action: The Role of Religious Communities

South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young delivered the 2019 Catherine Helen Spence Oration, addressing the timely topic of the role of religious communities in climate change action.

Held on Monday, November 4, 2019, the Annual Catherine Helen Spence Oration on Religion and Public Life is an annual event held by the Unitarian Church of SA to explore the nexus between liberal religious values and public policy in Australia.

Catherine Helen Spence, who became an active member of the Unitarian Church in South Australia, placed herself right at the crux of this intersection. After coming to Australia in 1839, Spence and her South Australian contemporaries led the world in improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children, developing kindergartens, child and family health nursing, and pioneering the first foster care programs to replace the institutional care of children.

Born in Scotland and raised with the harsh doctrines of Presbyterianism, Spence eventually chose Unitarianism, where she met Martha Turner, Australia’s first female church minister, and. after 1878, gave sermons in the church. In her public speaking, Spence campaigned for such causes as electoral reform, public education, women’s equality and child welfare.

Sarah Hanson-Young has represented South Australia in the Australian Senate, as a member of The Greens, since 2007, winning re-election in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will speak on the topic: “The Moral Imperative of Climate Change Action: The Role of Religious Communities” at Unitarian House, 99 Osmond Terrace, Norwood. The Senator will address the role that religious communities and their leaders can play in responding to this increasingly urgent challenge.