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Sixty-two children march down a muddy road to join a tree planting in Macatbong, a barangay or village in Cabanatuan City. Photo by Gladys Mangiduyos, UMNS.

Photo by Gladys Mangiduyos, UMNS

Sixty-two children march down a muddy road to join a tree planting in Macatbong, a barangay or village in Cabanatuan City.

Ryan Dumaya holds up a seedling to be planted as part of The United Methodist Church’s efforts to protect the environment in the Philippines. Photo by Gladys Mangiduyos, UMNS.

Photo by Gladys Mangiduyos, UMNS

Ryan Dumaya holds up a seedling to be planted as part of The United Methodist Church’s efforts to protect the environment in the Philippines.

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Children plant trees to protect environment

 

By Gladys Mangiduyos
Aug. 30, 2016 | CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines (UMNS)

Sixty-two children trekked a muddy road to join a tree planting in Macatbong, a barangay or village in Cabanatuan City. The event had been postponed due to monsoon rains.

“We are here because we believe life will be sustained by trees, they will give oxygen and fresh air that we breathe,” said Kristine Joy Sardanas, 12. Sardanas and two 11-year-olds, Josh Bunag and Lineth Refe, are all from Riverside United Methodist Church. 

The son and daughter of Sheryl Bal-ot, a deaconess of United Methodist Church, explained why they were planting trees on Aug. 20.

“Mommy told us we need to plant trees because trees will surely help reduce flood waters,” said Shan Ranly, 7, and Ranya Shary, 4. 

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Ryan Dumaya holds up a seedling to be planted as part of The United Methodist Church’s efforts to protect the environment in the Philippines. Photo by Gladys Mangiduyos, UMNS.

 

Environmental concerns

Addressing environmental issues is part of the agenda of Manila Episcopal Area Bishop Rodolfo Juan, and the Metropolitan district of the area organized the event to further that agenda.

Rachel Dela Cruz, deaconess of the United Methodist Church, who also chairs the district’s Christian Education Committee, said adults had planted trees in June for the district anniversary.  

“Last June, we had the same activity, not just to celebrate the anniversary but to fulfill the episcopal direction of Bishop Rodolfo Juan, which is addressing environmental problems,” she said.

Carmy Erika Bumanlag, a district deaconess, organized the team.

“The kids were very good in determining how the world was beautifully created but is now groaning,” she said.

The effort was a follow-up to a December 2015 children’s rally for climate justice and was held in solidarity with the climate vigil at General Conference 2016.

“We pray for humility, for us to confess our sin of not taking care of God’s creation. May we begin here, right now, to change our world,” the Rev. Carlo Rapanut said at the vigil during General Conference.

The Rev. Elijah Lorenzo, administrative pastor of Macatbong United Methodist Church, said children need to be involved in such activities.

“They are the future, this is for them, so they should also feel the great need and the grave concern,” he said.

The children planted the trees on a lot owned by Rodolfo Mari Jr., the church council chair of the Macatbong church.

“I will take care of the seedlings they have just planted, when they get back after three years, they will see how the trees have grown,” he said.

The Rev. Gilbert Pascua, district superintendent of the Metropolitan district, offered a prayer.  

“Bless these kids, Lord, their consciousness and hands, which responded to your call. May we be all graced by intentional efforts to fulfill our mission in fulfilling climate justice.”

Mangiduyos is a correspondent for United Methodist News Service.

News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, newsdesk@umcom.org or 615-742-5470.