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Interfaith Tree Planting

(See photos at the bottom of this post)

More than 140 volunteers representing seven London faith groups planted over 500 native trees and shrubs at a London park on June 1, 2014. The Interfaith Tree Planting was organized by the seven faith groups and coordinated by ReForest London.

The environmental action recognizes the shared values of stewardship for the earth that these religious groups share. In addition to improving the environmental health of London, organizers hoped to create a space for positive interfaith fellowship and activities. Family activities and sharing of food were part of the day’s events.

The following organizations participated in the interfaith event:
•    Al Mahdi Islamic Community Centre
•    Congregation Or Shalom
•    London Muslim Mosque
•    Muslim Association of Canada
•    St. James Westminster Anglican Church
•    Temple Israel of London
•    Trinity United Church Community Centre   

Following blessings offered by Muslim, Christian, and Jewish leaders, volunteers planted trees and shrubs at Meadowgate Park, located near Commissioners and Highbury Roads. Participants were invited to sample food from many of the participating faith groups.

Trees planted at Meadowgate Park contribute to London’s Million Tree Challenge, a community initiative to plant one million trees in the city of London. Funding for the planting event was provided by the participating faith groups and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Faith leaders offered the following statements about their participation:

“In Islam, it is believed that all human beings, regardless of faith or creed, have been given by God the responsibility of nurturing, maintaining and taking care of His earth from which we were all created and which we all share as our home.  The interfaith tree planting event is a wonderful initiative for people of differing faiths to come together for the same noble cause of replenishing our city with trees as part of the ReForest London project while re-affirming our commitment to the environment. It is an honour and a blessing for the Muslims of our community to partake in this event again.” - Abd Alfatah Twakkal, Imam of London Muslim Mosque

“For Christians the stewardship of creation is treating this earth as God's garden rather than as our garbage dump. We have a responsibility to one another, to future generations, to the planet and to God to be loving, tender caretakers of this good earth.” - Dr. Gary Nicolosi, Rector, St. James Westminster Anglican Church

"The Talmud observes that we plant trees for the benefit of our children since the trees often will not mature in our lifetimes.  It is fitting that London's many faith groups are coming together to plant trees that will benefit all our children.  I'm excited about this project." - Rabbi Catharine Clark, Congregation Or Shalom.

The bible begins in a garden and ends in a city teeming with trees, vegetation and crystal clear rivers…a vision of the future we all want and need. Since we all share the same home on planet earth and our spiritual traditions share the same values of respect, compassion and fairness, it will be a great occasion and a lot of fun to plant trees together. - Rev. Paul Browning, Trinity United Church Community Centre

"See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? – A goodly word is as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches reach to the sky." [Holy Quran: Ibrahim 14:24]  The  Al-Mahdi Islamic Community Centre is proud to participate once again with ReForest London and other faith-based groups in London in the 2nd Annual Interfaith Tree Planting Event. As the Holy Quran teaches us, trees not only provide a source of nourishment, protection, healing and beauty, they are also at the essence of life and goodness. As Muslims, we will gather with our brothers and sisters from the Abrahamic faiths to exchange words of friendship as we stand side by side to plant good deeds that will one day provide the fruit of a vibrant community and a healthy ecology for future generations. – Al Mahdi Islamic Community Centre

“As partners with God in the work of creation, we welcome the opportunity to fulfill our responsibility for environmental stewardship. As people of faith we recognize we share this commitment with our brothers and sisters across the religious spectrum. We are thrilled to join in such an important project with our local community.” – Rabbi Debra Dressler, Temple Israel

"No matter what our faith background or creed, the natural world lies at the center of our humanity. It is nature that sustains us, that nourishes us, and that allows us to see the mercy and grace of the divine all around us." – Mohammed Loubani, Muslim Association of Canada

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