By Mncedisi Masuku, Diocese of Swaziland
Wednesday March 2 has been a historic day in Manzini Parish, Mathanda when members of the church decided to have a short service under a marula tree which is one of the trees that has cultural significance in the Swazi Culture.
We gathered under the tree to share a bit about Climate Change before starting our tree planting around the church. We have been using Season of Creation II for prayers and readings; Rev. W. Dlamini led us into a brief Bible study and Mncedisi Masuku talked briefly about the scientific aspect of how Climate Change is connected to deforestation and green-house gas emissions, and how tree planting benefits the eco-system balance.
Readings for the discussion were,
After the readings it was discussed how in the gospel of Matthew we see Jesus calming the storm, which shows that Jesus is above all nature. We need to go back to Christ if we are to fight and win Climate Change, as he is the solution and can teach us how to be stewards of the earth.
After the short service under the tree, we moved forward and put faith into actions. We planted 31 trees which will serve as wind breakers for the church along the surrounding fence. It was a wonderful experience. We also planted five indigenous plant species that are now at risk of extinction due to deforestation; we are saving them for future generations. We saved one fruit tree to plant at the Good Friday service.
The main purpose of the day was tree planting but the service would not be complete if we left litter around the church compounds. It was then decided to do a clean up exercise to leave the church green.
Did you know cutting down on meat can save the environment? It is not easy for most of us but cutting down on beef can go a long way in saving our deteriorating environment. We shared a very nice chicken stew and some green vegetable. It was a wonderful fellowship.
We are so grateful to the government of Swaziland for providing us with these trees from the Environmental desk. We committed ourselves in taking care of them when we made our last prayer, blessing the work of our hands. So help us Lord.
St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church in Waterkloof, Pretoria celebrated Earth Keeper Day on the 14th February. Jill Daugherty reports back:
The plans for celebrating Earth Keeper Day on 14 February were announced on the previous Sunday and congregants were asked to bring a gift of the Earth (any vegetable or fruit from their garden or greengrocer) that was to be distributed later to the needy.
Many congregants heeded the call and placed their Gifts of the Earth in the sanctuary before the service. The children of Waterkloof Primary School also participated by bringing canned as well as fresh vegetables and fruit to school on the Friday. The children, as well as their parents and teachers, also joined our annual clean-up of a spruit in the vicinity of the school. So the Earth Keeper message was spread through the community.
At both services on the Sunday the Benedicite Africana (Song of Creation) was used as well as a Eucharistic prayer for the Season of Creation, which was combined with the liturgy for the First Sunday in Lent. At the second service, which was attended by the Sunday School children, the Rector demonstrated how we are polluting the Earth by emptying a dustbin down the aisle. The children had drawn posters to celebrate the day and these were on display in the church.
Dropping off the Gifts of the Earth at Itereleng Centre.
On Monday, two vehicles filled with vegetables and fruit went to Itereleng Centre, in Winterveldt, a cluster of settlements to the north of Pretoria. Itereleng was established as a training centre for the disabled in the former Bophuthatswana. It is still frequented by the elderly and the disabled, but the infrastructure is in a state of disrepair and it seems that training is no longer given on a permanent basis. It is not a project of Tumelong (the mission and development programme of the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria), but it does receive occasional help from them and from various other organizations in Gauteng and North West. It is also supported by the local community – several residents in the vicinity agreed to store and cook the produce donated by the church.
Residents at the Itereleng Centre receive fruit and vegetables from St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church.
Residents at the Itereleng Centre.