“Let these trees grow as our communion is growing”

(From left) LWF General Secretary Martin Junge, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib Younan, LWF National Committee in Indonesia Chairperson Bishop Langsung Sitorus and other member church representatives with a Luther Garden partner tree planted at the Ecumenical Center of the Council of Protestant Indonesian Churches in North Sumatra on 15 June 2014. Photo: LWF/C. Kästner
(From left) LWF General Secretary Martin Junge, LWF President Bishop Dr Munib Younan, LWF National Committee in Indonesia Chairperson Bishop Langsung Sitorus and other member church representatives with a Luther Garden partner tree planted at the Ecumenical Center of the Council of Protestant Indonesian Churches in North Sumatra on 15 June 2014. Photo: LWF/C. Kästner

Indonesian member churches of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have planted partner trees for the ones in the Wittenberg Luther Garden at the Ecumenical Centre of the Council of Protestant Indonesian Churches in North Sumatra on 15 June 2014. Representatives of the 13 Indonesian member churches planted saplings of mango, avocado, banana and durian trees. The first trees were planted by LWF President Bishop Munib A. Younan and LWF General Secretary Rev Martin Junge, as well as representatives for the 7 LWF regions.

At the beginning of the planting, Bishop Langsung M. Sitorus, chair of the LWF National Committee in Indonesia, reminded the participants of God´s call to take care of creation. “We plant not only in Wittenberg but also in Indonesia,” Sitorus said. “With the planting of these trees we support the 500 year anniversary of the Lutheran reformation, but we also contribute to a better climate”. Deforestation is a major issue in Northern Sumatra, where tropical forests are threatened by illegal logging and commercial plantations for pulp and palm oil.

“We plant these trees as partnership trees for the Luther Garden in Wittenberg,” President Younan said. “May they grow as our communion of churches is growing”. Three Indonesian member churches have already planted trees in Wittenberg, a fourth planting is scheduled to take place at the end of June.

“We plant trees because we have hope” General Secretary Martin Junge said upon planting a mango tree sapling. “We know that they take a long time to grow, and we will not be the ones who eat the fruits. Others will enjoy them” he added. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, added Martin Luther’s quote that “if I knew the world would end tomorrow, I would still plant a tree”.

OKR Norbert Denecke, chair of the LWF German National Committee, also placed a small tree inviting those churches who had not yet done so to plant a tree in the Luther garden as well. “These trees are a symbol for the reformation which spread from Germany to the world, and has taken root worldwide” OKR Denecke said.

The tree planting took place in the framework of the LWF Council 2014, which met in Medan, Indonesia from 11-17 June 2014.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.