The United Methodist Church in East Congo is doing its part to protect the environment through reforestation efforts.
"We cut trees from our forests every day for domestic use, it is good to think of replacing them in order to protect our environment against global warming. Our concessions must be surrounded by trees to allow fresh air (to breathe), where it is good to live," said East Congo Area Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda at The United Methodist Church Mission of Lokole in Kindu, where his office is located.
In setting up priority plans for the church in East Congo, Unda emphasized the need for the fight against global warming to cut across every program area of the church.
The Rev. Paul Omba, director of program and development of the East Congo Episcopal Area, urged local church clergy and laity to take the lead by bringing one tree each to help reforest Kindu.
Félix Okende, pastor of the local Francophone Church of Tokolote, answered the call with a gift of 500 trees, which included eucalyptus, palm, avocado, mandarin and orange trees, for the reforestation efforts.
“I am a pastor and agronomist. I like to protect nature, and I have my nurseries of several kinds of trees that I sell, but this time I decided to offer a share to God. This is why I offered this gift of young plants to be planted at the Methodist Mission Station,” Okende said.
A team of episcopal office staff and other members of the church are planting the trees. The initiative kicked off earlier this year.
According to Omba, the goal of the reforestation activity is to “contribute to the fight against global warming but also, and especially, for the ornament and the beautification of the environment."
The United Methodist Church, in its official teachings, urges members to care for God’s creation and identifies climate change as a threat to that creation, especially to people already struggling with poverty.
“The adverse impacts of global climate change disproportionately affect individuals and nations least responsible for the emissions,” the denomination’s Book of Discipline states.
Yanga is the director of communication for the East Congo Episcopal Area.