“The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations”

Revelation 22:2

Why we should care about TREES and the EARTH

Tree planting is one of the most effective ways of reversing the process of forest destruction and land clearance that has destroyed a major portion of 'the lungs of our planet'. http://www.seasonofcreation.com/earthcare/forest/

 “The Bible says a great deal about … the call for all creation to worship God and about the mandate for human beings to “serve and preserve” creation. We were created by God to be ‘earthkeepers.’” This is no fad- PDF  This is not a fad from the ELCA “seeds for the parish”


Ideas for Planting trees in congregations

OPTION 1: Get 10 trees that will work well in your area!

Become a member of the Arbor foundation for $10 and  they will send your 10 trees to you. http://www.arborday.org/  

OPTION 2:  You can also choose tree(s)on your own or ask for a donation of tree(s).

If you choose this route you can find Information at your local hardware store or on the website for Tree planting on the United States Department of Agriculture http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/ or Tree Care Industry Association, www.treecareindustry.org information about reputable tree companies can be found.

OPTION 3:  Think that the maintenance and watering of the tree(s) will be too much for your      congregation?

You can make a $10 donation to the Arbor foundation and become a member and 10 trees will be planted in a National Forest in the honor of your congregation. www.arborday.org/

Where to Plant the trees in the congregation

OPTION 1: You can plant them on the Church grounds.

You can plant them in pots (Some of the free arbor day trees start very small so pots might be better for them)

Around the grounds


locate a piece of land-one belonging to a member of the congregation, a sympathetic neighbor or the local council-and designate it as a forest garden of the congregation. Each year during the season of Creation - and perhaps at other times - native trees are planted on this property as a way of rejuvenating the land and encouraging a revival of the native fauna and flora. (http://www.seasonofcreation.com/earthcare/forest/)

Have them (if able) at the homebound members homes. We often think about the ministry we give to them but forget about the ministry that they can give to us, if they are willing and able, allow them to care and nurture the tree until it is ready to be planted into the ground.

Before Starting:

WATERING Maintenance:

Make sure your grounds crew is aware of this project and that they either set up a watering system


You can have members of your congregation/ youth group take turns watering the tree(s)


Seeking advice on the best ways of restoring the native life of the region should be combined with a plan to educate the children and youth of the congregation in ways of helping to heal Earth by tree planting. Young trees may be blessed in worship before being planted. (http://www.seasonofcreation.com/earthcare/forest/)

Tree Planting Worship Service (layout)

Order of Service for a Tree Planting

modified from: http://www.webofcreation.org/Worship/services/tree.htm

(Additional prayers for creation (page 81, Evangelical Lutheran Worship) may be added
to the congregation’s prayers of intercession during a regular worship service)

(Additional songs for creation can be found throughout the ELW index)

Opening Song:

 ELW 447- O Blessed Spring or another appropriate song


God of heaven and earth, the work of your hands is made known in your bountiful creation and in the lives of those who faithfully live their lives in your grace. Grant us the grace to respect and care for Your creation. Today, as we embrace your good soil, let us be reminded of all of your creation. May this tree speak the power of your life in our midst, deeply rooted and ever growing in all creation, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Scripture Passage:

(choose from the list below)

Words about the purpose for planting the tree

Blessing of the Tree:

Creator of life and Sustainer of seed and soil, of tree and flower, you have created this world and all that lives in it. It is to You that we come in this prayer of dedication and blessing , for your are the giver of life and the sustainer of all that lives. May this tree dig deep roots and grow wide branches to bear witness to your abundant love and grace made known. We ask for your blessing upon this tree and upon us  as we dwell and bear witness to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we pray. Amen.


The God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with all of creation, in accordance with Jesus Christ. Amen

The God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The God of all grace and love + bless you now and forever. Amen


Closing Song: We Shall Not be Moved


Isaiah 55:12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

Bible Verses:

            Old Testament  

          Genesis 1:11-12, 2:9, 2:17, 3:22

            Leviticus 19:23-25, 26:20

            Deuteronomy 8:7-8, 20:19-20, 24:20

            1 Chronicles 16:33

            Job 14:7-9

            Psalm 96:12, 104:16-17, 105:33, 148:9

            Isaiah 41:19, 55:12-13

            Jeremiah 7:20

            Ezekiel 34:27, 47:12

            Joel 1:12, 1:19, 2:22

            Amos 4:9

            Habakkuk 3:17-18

          New Testament 

          Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29

Galatians 3:13

            1 Peter 2:24

Revelation 2:7, 7:1-3, 8:7, 9:4, 11:4, 22:2, 22:14

Tree Poems:

The Caring Rests in Song and Shade  by: Wendell Berry (1979-1997)

The clearing rests in song and shade.

It is a creature made

By light held in soil and leaf,

By human joy and grief,

By human work,

Fidelity of sight and stroke,

By rain, by water on

The parent stone.


We join our work to Heaven’s gift,

Our hope to what is left,

That field and woods at the last agree

In an economy

Of widest worth.

High Heaven’s Kingdom come on earth.

Imagine Paradise.

O dust, arise!


Learn from the Pine  by:Basho (1644-1694, Japanese Poet)

            Learn about the pines from the pine, and about bamboo from the bamboo.

            Make the universe your companion, always bearing in mind the true nature of things – mountains and rivers, trees and grasses, and humanity – and enjoy the falling blossoms and the scattering leaves.

It is this poetic spirit that one to follow nature and become a friend with things of the seasons. For a person who has the spirit, everything she sees becomes a flower, and everything  he imagines turns into the moon.

Every form of insentient existence – plants, stones, or utensils – has its individual feelings similar to those of people. When we observe calmly, we discover that all things have their fulfillment.

Any Fool Can Destroy Trees  by: John Muir (1838–1914, Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness)

The axe and saw are insanely busy, chips are flying thick as snowflakes and every summer thousands of acres of priceless forests, with their underbrush, soil, springs, climate , scenery, and religion are vanishing away in clouds of smoke.

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the nobele primeval forests . During a lifetime only saplings can be grown, in the place of the old trees—tens of centuries old—that have been destroyed.

It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees of these Western Woods – trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty—waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ’s time—and long before that—God has cared for these tree’s, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from the fools.

In Hardwood Groves  by: Robert Frost (1874-1963, American Poet)

          The same leaves over and over again!

They fall from giving shade above

To make one texture of faded brown

An fit the earth like leather glove.


Before the leaves can mount again

To fill the trees with another shade,

They must go down past things coming up.

They must go down into the dark decayed


They must be pierced by flowers and out

Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.

However it is in some other world

I know that this is the way in ours.


Think Like a Tree  by: Karen I. Shragg (Naturalist of Wood Lake Nature Center in the City of Richfield, Minnesota)

Soak up the sun
Affirm life's magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.


                MORE TREE POEMS: http://www.spiritoftrees.org/poetry/tree_poems.html

A list of  TREE ORGANIZATIONS  can be found at http://www.spiritoftrees.org/trees/trees.html


 Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”- Martin Luther