Bishop Alan Williams to ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’ at Brentwood Cathedral

Bishop walking in treesOn Pentecost Sunday, 5 June, Bishop Alan Williams sm is to plant a tree for the Queen’s Jubilee in the grounds of Brentwood Cathedral. The tree planting is part of The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, which has seen thousands of individuals, groups and organisations plant trees for the future.

The Bishop, who has personally purchased the tree, has opted for Euonymus Europaeus, or common Spindle, a species of flowering plant in the family Celastraceae, native to much of Europe. The tree will be planted in the cemetery grounds surrounding the Cathedral after the Pentecost Mass at the Cathedral on 5 June at around 12.45. The Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Jennifer Tolhurst, and her husband Philip will be present.

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 aims to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation which will benefit future generations.

Bishop Alan says: “At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit opened doors and enlightened hearts and minds. I am planting this tree as a symbol of our belief in our planet and our God – and hope for the future of our earth.”

The planting fits well with the Brentwood Diocese’s environmental initiative launched last year ahead of the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow. Rooted in faith, Laudato Si’ Invitations, Commitments and Actions is a diocesan-wide initiative to ‘inspire, refresh and rejuvenate our care for our common home’.  It is a direct response to Pope Francis’ call to ‘Listen to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor’.

At the launch, Bishop Alan said: “We are at a pivotal moment in the life of our planet. This summer has seen wildfires raging in Southern Europe, traumatic flooding in India, Pakistan and America, and a devastating earthquake in Haiti. There can be no doubt that weather patterns are shifting, and it is the poorest people in the world who are often the ones that are suffering the most.”

Laudato Si’ Invitations, Commitments and Actions explains what the Diocese is itself doing, from fossil fuel divestment to plans to reduce energy use in buildings, and invites parishes, schools and individuals to play their part.

Parishes and schools have responded to that initiative in recent months. In Romford, for example, tree planting took place earlier this year.  Joan Murphy from the parish of St Edward the Confessor was instrumental in getting a large group of volunteers (above) to plant trees in an area of her neighbouring Rafael’s Park. “It was part of a LiveSimply initiative which coincided with attempts to rejuvenate the parish following COVID. Through the connections of a neighbour who is a ‘friend of Rafael’s Park’, the parish was given 300 trees by the Council in Havering, which had its own tree-planting plan in place. Lots of people of all ages came to help plant them. It was lovely,” says Joan.

Elsewhere the Ecoschools team at All Saints School in Dagenham have commemorated the Jubilee with the planting of an olive tree and a fig tree “for generations to come”.

The school said: “We are proud to commemorate this Platinum Jubilee with the planting of a fantastic olive tree to last through the ages and a fig tree to bear ripe fruit in time – our @EcoSchools  team dug deep so their roots can grow deeper still. ”