Your Say: March 15-21, 2018

Thou Shall Not Steal Trees
      I am in the business of restoration: restoring hope that we are loved unconditionally; restoring faith that our lives matter and that renewal is always possible; restoring wholeness to broken hearts and broken places. So it pains me to see so many operating in the business of destruction.
     Our church has joined together with other congregations to plant trees on church grounds. Collectively, congregations have planted 13,000 trees. This was hard work, took public and private grant funding, many volunteers from faith communities and nonprofit organizations to orchestrate. While we are pleased we could plant 13,000 trees, it is mind-boggling to comprehend that in this same amount of time, developments destroyed nearly half a million trees. 
     I look out my office window at the small forest that our congregation has tended over the years, to our Woodlands Chapel, our Labyrinth in the Woods, where our kids hunt Easter eggs and roast marshmallows, where we greet the rising sun on Easter morning. The forest has nourished, awakened and restored us. I cannot imagine our spiritual ministry here at First Presbyterian without that forest.
     So, if forests continue to be destroyed at today’s alarming rate, what will inspire future generations to walk with God? What will be the backdrop for healing mended broken hearts and restoring shattered faith? 
     It is time for those in the business of destruction to be held accountable for the burdens that are being laid down for the next generation. Maryland legislators have an opportunity this year to pass Senate Bill 610/House Bill 766 to protect forests, restore the damage we have done to the earth and offer hope for the next generation to live in a vibrant, beautiful, inspiring world.
      Thou shall not steal trees from the next generation. 
–The Rev. Sue Lowcock Harris, Co-Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Howard County; partner with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake