Climate Sunday was marked in St Comgall’s, Rathcoole, on October 17 with a special service followed by tree and seed planting.
Guest preacher at the service was the Rev Dr Ron Elsdon.
Priest-in-Charge, the Rev Arlene Moore, said: “Dr Elsdon gave an inspiring address using his extensive knowledge and expertise to highlight the issues affecting our world, put our responsibilities in their rightful biblical context and not only underline the challenges we face, but also the hope and comfort that is ours if we take God’s Word and the stewardship of God’s world seriously.”
During the service, the congregation was led in a commitment to care for the environment and to take personal responsibility for effecting positive change; and prayers were said for the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow.
Afterwards, members of the congregation regathered outside to put their worship and commitment into immediate action
The parish had recently received RCB/diocesan permissions to remove a dead sapling tree from the grounds and in accordance with Church of Ireland policy, two trees were to be planted in its place.
Arlene thanked Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for its help in sourcing the trees. A pear tree was dedicated in memory of all those who had died in the parish and community during the coronavirus pandemic, and those who could only have restricted funerals. The tree was planted by Dr Elsdon.
An apple tree, obtained from the Woodland Trust, was also planted as part of Her Majesty the Queen’s Green Canopy Initiative to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in 2022. This was planted by Alan Jones, Rector’s Glebewarden. Alan is caretaker for all parish buildings and also maintains the church grounds.
Arlene said: “We love the symbolism that the planting of fruit trees on church grounds represents, coming especially just after the sermon on the Parable of the Sower and the growth of the seeds given by Victoria Jackson [Connor Children’s Ministry Development Officer] at our Harvest Service on October 3.
“We were delighted to discover that the apple tree was already bearing some beautiful fruit on arrival and of course we pray that not only the trees but the parish and community will bloom and bear much fruit to God’s glory in the future too.”
Arlene added: “We also look forward to blessing those who come to our parish activities and events with some nice pear crumble and apple tarts in due course.”
As part of the Climate Sunday activities, two children representing Kidz Church also scattered some Remembrance-themed seeds including poppy, cornflower, ox eye daisy, pansy and forget me nots, as well as bee and butterfly friendly wildflower seeds in a special flowerbed as the congregation prayed for its responsibility to steward God’s gifts and pass it on to children and future generations.