by the Rev. Robert Beazley, priest-in-charge, St. Michael’s, Mandeville

When I was a child, I learned the proverb that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today. We, as southern Louisianians, are lucky to be surrounded by a growing population, new neighbors, and quite often new development right in our backyards. As fortunate as progress can be, the leveling of decades of forests is disheartening. That thought was in the back of my mind at our 2019 Diocesan Convention as I looked out upon nearly 50 Episcopal communities. With the 50th Earth Day coming up in just a few weeks, April 22, the dream to plant trees across 50 Episcopal locations in our diocese sprouted. Between all of our congregations, parochial schools, and rectories, there are approximately 50 Episcopal sites in the Diocese of Louisiana and it is my dream that on the 50th Earth Day in April, trees will be planted on those sites. Setting down roots that will hold tight for decades to come.

After a few conversations with parishioners who are horticultural experts and connected to wholesale nurseries in Washington Parish, the dream became a reality. For $50 per tree of either a Redbud, Live Oak, or Maple, churches can order a healthy three to four year tree. The tree(s) will be delivered the second week of April with plenty of time to prepare the congregation to plant it themselves on or before Earth Day. Trees are incredible markers in the life of a community and should be planted in memory or honor of the milestones in a parish i.e. for all the newly baptized the previous year, for a confirmation or graduating class, for the life of a beloved parishioner.

As our backyards change and the progress of today drives us to focus on tomorrow, planting a tree slows us down and sets a placeholder in time. I hope your parish or parochial school will join in this project to plant trees on Episcopal sites throughout our diocese for the 50th Earth Day! To place a tree order, please follow this link: https://forms.gle/9GcG6ZVGaNME5G3E9

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