Counting on … day 324

30th September 2022

Autumn is a good time to plant trees. If you have space why not choose one for

your garden – not all tree are big and fruit trees produce an edible reward too! 

Brogdale in Kent holds the National Fruit Collection and has over 4000 varieties of fruit trees including  apples, pears, quinces, plums , cherries and cobnuts – including many heritage varieties. 

 Counting on ….day 270

8th August 2022

Using trees to provide shade significantly reduces urban temperatures making it easier to cope with heat waves. The Mayor of London proposes increasing London’s tree cover from around 20% to 30% by 2050. Research shows that to be most effective tree cover should be at least 40%. We can contact our local authorities and ask them about planting more trees. And if we have the space, we too can plant trees in our gardens.

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 22nd July 2022

And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat. Genesis 2:9

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading based on an idea by Jesus as recorded in Luke’s gospel. 

There once was a sojourner who going about their daily business, was beset by disaster upon disaster: floods and drought, heatwaves and colds snaps, hunger and thirst. Politicians, as they passed, turned to look the other way. Church leaders buried their noses in their prayer books. The wealthy found money a quick way out. 

Yet  in the midst of it all, were the trees. They kept on breathing in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen; they even helped clean the air of pollutants. They collected rain with leaves to slow its fall, and collected more between their roots, reducing the risk of flooding. Their leaves provided shade and as they released moisture, so they cooled the air. They caught energy from the sun and turned it into useful materials, food and even medicines. They welcomed other visitors, fauna and flora. They offered green spaces that calmed the anxious and the weary. 

Who was the good neighbour to the sojourner?

Holy God, 

we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. 

We have ignored the plight of others. 

We have not stood in solidarity with those who need help. 

Rather we have spurned those who are our neighbours.

We have cut them down in their prime.

We have cut away at their roots 

and have poisoned their lifeblood. 

Have mercy.

Have mercy,.

Heal us and have mercy. 

A reading Leviticus 23:39-41 (The Message) 

On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have brought your crops in from your fields, celebrate the Feast of God for seven days. The first day is a complete rest and the eighth day is a complete rest. On the first day, pick the best fruit from the best trees; take fronds of palm trees and branches of leafy trees and from willows by the brook and celebrate in the presence of your God for seven days—yes, for seven full days celebrate it as a festival to God. Every year from now on, celebrate it in the seventh month.

God of the oak and the tamarisk, we praise you.

God of the palm tree and the olive, we praise you.

God of the fig tree and the vine, we praise you.

God of the cedar and the myrtle, we praise you.

For the wonder and beauty of trees, we praise you.

For leaves and shade, for seeds and fruit, we praise you.

For rootedness and stability, we praise you.

For maturity and heritage, we praise you.

For carbon absorbed and oxygen released, we praise you.

For community and interconnectedness, we praise you.

God of wisdom, 

teach us to understand and value 

the world you have created. 

Teach us to recognise that what you create is one family, 

that all its people, its plants and creatures, 

are our brothers and sisters.   

Teach us to love them as our neighbours, 

and give us the grace 

to receive the love they bestow on us. 

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer 

Prayers for Creation 

Friday 15th July 2022

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. Proverbs 11:30a

You Lord, are the source of all good things: 

We praise you.

You call us to tend and care for your creation: 

May we strive to do your will.

You have made us as brothers and sisters with all that lives: 

May we live together in peace.

A reading: As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

An acorn is a comical thing

with a little hat that could be a cup.

Its pointed tip – that could be its bottom – 

is not going to drill its way into the earth. 

It waits for the rook or the squirrel 

to snaffle it and bury it deep in the soil, 

where after hours of dark contemplation 

it will emerge as a slip of a thing, 

with rusty red leaves that unfold into green.

An oak’s life starts in a very small way.

Lord God, in small and even comical ways, 

let our faith grow. 

From small beginnings help us sow 

seeds that will transform your world.

A reading: Isaiah 41:19-20

 I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Rooted together in community, 

colonising land that might otherwise be void, 

trees are not loners. 

Companions they support each other, 

neighbours that support others, 

forming delicate ecosystems 

where life is in the balance. 

Lord God, let our faith 

create neighbours and communities.

Rooted in togetherness, 

may your kingdom come.

Reading: He said, “Out of the eater came something to eat; Out of the strong came something sweet.” Three days later they had still not figured out what the riddle meant. Judges 14:14

Ancient oak, 

wrinkled and gnarled, 

gnawed at by time, 

even in death you provide safe lodging 

and sustenance for others. 

With grace you return to the earth 

the nourishment you harvested: 

a life time of receiving and giving.

Lord God, let our faith 

nourish generations to come 

just as we gain from those who have gone before. 

May the power of the resurrection 

sustain us with eternal life.

Amen.

The Grace

Counting on …day 201

2nd June 2022

“The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC will encourage planting of trees to create a  legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation, which will benefit future generations.” 

https://queensgreencanopy.org/

If you haven’t a garden or sufficient space for a tree, you can sponsor the planting of  a tree via the National Trust –

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/plant-a-tree?intcmp=plant_atree_autumn20_inmemorypage_teaser

Or you can sponsor a tree via the NHS where it will form part o the NHS Forest – https://nhsforest.org/get-involved/sponsor-a-tree/

Counting on … day 200  

1st June 2022

Walking in woodlands or even just having a tree to look at when you are ill is known to be beneficial – promoting both mental well-being and speeding up recovery from sickness. 

A report produced last December by Forest Research and funded by the Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry and the Welsh Government, recorded that visits to the UK’s woodlands do indeed boost mental health and save an estimated £185 million in treatment costs annually. 

Counting on …day 198

30th May 2022

Ancient trees are not only valuable in their own right, they also support a wide and diverse ecosystem – beetles, insects, birds, fungi, small mammals, plants etc – and are key in maintaining biodiversity. The Ancient Tree Forum has a booklet exploring this topic – https://www.ancienttreeforum.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ancient-tree-guide-6-special-wildlife.pdf

Looking after old trees and woodlands matters!

Counting on …day 197 

29th May 2022

We can recognise ancient buildings like castles and cathedrals quite easily. We can probably recognise old houses quite easily too – especially those that are large and grand! We expect such buildings to be protected – perhaps under the auspices of the National Trust or English Heritage, or to be a listed building. But what about trees? The oldest tree in the world is probably a 4m wide  Patagonia cypress in Chile which could be up to 5,484 years old (https://theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/26/worlds-oldest-tree-cypress-chile). And that is older even than the pyramids in Egypt! According to the Woodland Trust, the oldest tree in the UK is said to be the Fortingall yew in Perthshire. It’s estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000 years old, although some believe it could be 5,000 years old. Such trees are historic landmarks and deserved to be protected in the same way that we protect historic buildings. The Woodland Trust has instigated just such a campaign! 

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/protecting-trees-and-woods/campaign-with-us/tree-protection-campaign/

 Counting on …day 185

17th May 2022

The public are being urged to keep an eye out for any signs of disease in local trees, as the UK launches a hi-tech, £5.8m tree laboratory to fight the spread of pests and diseases. The UK is especially vulnerable to the growing spread of plant pathogens because of warmer, wetter winters, and because it is a hub for global trade. The public can report sightings via the Tree Alert site, and a specialist will come and look at the tree, or send samples for further testing. One pest that affects Richmond Park is the oak procession are moth.

“First identified in London in 2006, it probably arrived on imported live wood. It has since been found in some surrounding counties. The caterpillars will be emerging over the next three months. They are black with long white hairs and move in long nose-to-tail processions, which give them their name. The nests are usually the shape of a dome or teardrop and are around the size of a tennis ball. They strip bark off oak trees and cause them to lose their leaves. The caterpillars can cause rashes and breathing difficulties, and should not be touched.”

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2602005258609/how-to-spot-bark-beetles-and-deadly-fungus-the-uk-s-new-tree-saving-lab-needs-your-help