Pastor donates 500 trees for reforestation

The United Methodist Church in East Congo is doing its part to protect the environment through reforestation efforts.

A man and woman work together to plant a sapling as part of reforestation efforts by the church in East Congo. Photo by Judith Yanga, UMNS.

A man and woman work together to plant a sapling as part of reforestation efforts by the church in East Congo. Photo by Judith Yanga, UMNS.

"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.

A man sets a tree sapling into the ground in Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo. The church is working to fight against global warming and to demonstrate appreciation for God’s creation. Photo by Judith Yanga, UMNS.

A man sets a tree sapling into the ground in Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo. The church is working to fight against global warming and to demonstrate appreciation for God’s creation. Photo by Judith Yanga, UMNS.

“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.

News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests. 

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Global Health
A new water tank holds water reserves at United Methodist Irambo Hospital in Bukavu, Congo. The tank was installed to collect rainwater to use at the health center. “(The tanks) sometimes allow us to conserve water, especially during this dry season when water has become a scarce commodity in the city of Bukavu,” said Dr. Djimmy Kasongo, medical director at the hospital. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Irambo Hospital.

Water project lightens load for new mothers

With a grant from UMCOR, church installs rainwater collection systems at three health facilities in East Congo Episcopal Area.
Mission and Ministry
High school student Sylvestre Muthoma prepares to return to class in Bukavu, Congo. Schools reopened in August for those needing to take their final exams to graduate. Photo by Philippe Kituka Lolonga, UM News.

African schools adapt to health requirements

Others roll out e-learning programs as churches offer support to children, parents and teachers amid COVID-19 disruptions.
Mission and Ministry
During the Ebola epidemic, East Congo Area Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda washes his hands and is helped by the Rev. Jean-Paul Omole, superintendent of the Goma District, during the Kivu Annual Conference in June 2019. Photo By Chadrack Londe, UM News.

Churches celebrate end of 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak

United Methodist churches played a part in helping to share health and prevention information, as well as work to prevent the stigma Ebola survivors often face.