After a year of separation and isolation, we set aside a day to gather as a people. A day of collective grieving, healing, and renewal. A day to honor the hardship and sacrifices made, to remember the lives lost during the pandemic. Recognizing the trauma we have endured collectively, it is now time to recognize our grief, so healing and renewal can begin.
Trees are living symbols that can nurture healing for individuals and communities of faith. They are a reminder of what was endured and lost, and a reminder of God’s promise for renewal and life. As a tangible and living symbol of remembrance and hope, all congregations are encouraged to plant a tree at their church. On Sunday, June 6th, the plantings will be dedicated with a liturgy of prayer, scripture, and song in collective worship across the conference.
A list of resources to support churches in selecting native trees that will thrive in their location is available HERE. You are also encouraged to contact your local County Extension Office, nurseries, and growers to determine the best trees in the area.
Remember to take into consideration the maintenance needs of the tree and develop a plan to ensure that tree has the best opportunity to thrive. Even in the best situations, some trees may not survive. Because these are “Living Tributes” and memorials, please have a plan in place to remove and replace the trees should this happen.
If a tree planting on-site is not possible, two UMC camps will receive donations for memorial groves. Donations will be accepted to support reforestation at Flathead Lake United Methodist Camp in Rollins, MT and Buckhorn United Methodist Camp in Bellvue, CO.
A complete worship service appropriate for in-person or online use can be found HERE. This worship service is in a printable form suitable for outdoor worship. Download, view, and share the video of the Day of Remembrance service HERE.
This act of collective remembrance and renewal can be an opportunity for regenerating the bonds of community that we have yearned for this last year and recognize God’s living presence among us on the journey ahead.
We invite you to visit this page for updates and resources over the coming weeks. Thank you for joining us for a Day of Remembrance.