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5th Annual Interfaith Planting (Peppertree Park) – Sept 17, 2017

Project type: 
Park Naturalization

Our fifth annual interfaith tree planting was a great success! 138 volunteers planted 278 native trees and shrubs in just under 2 hours. A HUGE thank you to all the faith groups and the Circle K International club at Western University for their hard work transforming the park into a leafy, green baby forest! 

A group comprised of members from ten different religious organization came together on a sunny day in September to plant trees at Peppertree Park. Over 135 people from many faiths gathered to learn more about each other's beliefs and to plant 300 native trees and shrubs. A special thanks as well to Katie Donovan for making this incredible time lapse video of the event!

This is the fifth year that the group has come together. Over the five years, the group has planted 1500 trees and shrubs throughout London.

The participating groups come from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian congregations throughout London:

Al Mahdi Islamic Centre

Christ the King University Parish/ King's Parish Ministry

Congregation Or Shalom

London Muslim Mosque

St. James Westminster Anglican Church

St. Luke the Evangelist - Broughdale

Temple Israel Synagogue

Trinity Lutheran Church

Trinity United Church Community Center

Three faith leaders, Rabbi Debra Dressler, Dr. Salam Al-Attar, and Rev. Adele Miles, opened the event with remarks about their religion’s teachings on planting trees and protecting the environment. Following a tree planting demonstration, the volunteers set to work planting the native trees and shrubs. We celebrated our success by sharing food and making a craft for each group to take back to their congregations. 

Some additional leaders of the participating groups offered their thoughts on the importance of caring for the earth to their beliefs.

“Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum says that the rabbis of the third century "call out to each individual to adopt an outlook on nature that regards it as an actual living partner to be engaged with, rather than an object to be looked at."  ReForest London's Interfaith Tree Planting is a wonderful opportunity for each of us to answer this call.  We look forward to working hard with other people of faith in London to add more trees to our beautiful city.”

- Rabbi Catherine Clark, Or Shalom

"In the first garden (Genesis 2:5-24), we find a place where we come to know God, our relationship to all that God creates and our responsibility to care for creation as a gift from God."

 - Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, CSB, Bishop of London

"Whatever faith we follow – or none – we share the gift of God’s creation that sustains us all.  Trees are an essential part of that gift!  To share in planting trees together for the future is a sign of our shared humanity and commitment to living together in peace."

- Bishop Linda Nicholls, Anglican Diocese of Huron

“For the fifth consecutive year, we take part in the Annual Interfaith Tree Planting Event as stewards of God's Earth, the multi-faith nation, with the intent of fortifying the goodness of its local soil that nourishes and houses us. 'The good land - its vegetation emerges by the permission of its Lord, but that which is bad - nothing emerges except sparsely with difficulty. Thus do We diversify the signs for a people who are grateful.' [The Holy Quran 7:58].  In similitude, Abraham is that good land and our faiths are the vegetation that benefit the inhabitants of this land. As each of us plants a tree, we vow in the Name of God to be grateful and to plant in our fertile hearts a good character to benefit humanity.”

- Dr. Salam Al-Attar, Board President at Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre.

ReForest London is grateful for the funding for this event provided by: the interfaith community, City of London, Government of Ontario, and TD Friends of the Environment.

A special thank you as well to the City of London for funding our "Planting in Every Ward" initiative this year for the Canada150, to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Healthy Kids Community Challenge, Province of Ontario, and City of London (TreeME), for making a free tree depot possible at the event.