On the 22nd April the world celebrated Earth Day an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The official theme for 2023 is “Invest In Our Planet”, and in response to this the Diocesan Environment Group of the Diocese of Cape Town launched a campaign calling all parishes to plant trees for the special day, either on the day, the Sunday or in the week thereafter. This campaign fell inline with the global Anglican Communion Forest initiative which seeks to significantly increase Anglican tree growing and landscape protection around the world and deepen care for creation within the life of the Church. So, through the Diocesan office a letter and registration pledge were sent out across the Diocese to have parishes sign up to choose a tree that they would like to plant. This initiative was supported by the Department of Environment, Forest and Fisheries who donated the trees for their new homes.
There was a great response from churches for trees as 26 trees were ordered for collection while some churches opted to plant their own trees. Starting from the 17 April parishes were able to collect their trees from St Paul’s in Bree Street. There were a few options that churches could choose from White Karee, Cypress, and Spekboom. We are so grateful to Ann House at UCT and the Children’s Library in Philippi who also joined the initiative and planted trees.
A liturgy was also prepared by the Green Anglicans Office compiled by Rev Rachel Mash for clergy to use in the blessing of the tree before/or after planting. This served as a means of connecting the tree planting with our faith. Rev Isais and Rev Abigail could be seen blessing their trees before planting them in the week.
We also saw the young people getting involved on the day with the children of St Michael’s All Angels and St Patrick’s Crawford creating artwork to commemorate the day. The young people of All Saints Lansdowne joined Rev Eugene in planting their spekboom in the rain as they were showered with a little bit of rain which never dampened their spirits.
We again just want to thank the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries for the donation of plants. To the parish of St Paul’s Bree Street which allowed us to use their hall as distribution centre for the tree collection. To all the parishes that pledged to plant a tree for Earth Day. What a blessing it is when we can give back to Mother Nature and take care of the Earth that God has granted us stewardship over. If you would in response to this initiative also still like to plant a tree in your church premises please contact Rev Shaun, the Diocesan Environmental Coordinator.