A wise king once said “To everything there is a season…” Earlier this month at Wellesley Village Church, volunteers led by the church’s Environmental Ministry took Solomon’s words to heart. On a seasonal spring day, 20 enthusiastic gardeners showed up with shovels and gloves to help plant trees and shrubs in the churchyard and cemetery in an effort to reduce the “heat island” effect of having a large yard with no canopy.
They didn’t do it alone. The United Church of Christ MassReLeaf program provided to Village Church $1,700 in Redbud trees, Cherry Dogwoods, and pink azaleas that were planted in the cemetery along Abbott Street in the cemetery along Church Street. Church volunteers pitched in to plant and do some maintenance to numerous existing small plants on the church property. Then, since the trees will need more than faith alone to grow, the Board of Properties helped out by providing watering bags for the trees, which will be tended until the plantings are well established.
It’s all part of a plan for the church’s Environmental Ministry and its Energy Task Force, which over the past several years have been evaluating ways that Village Church could be better stewards of the Earth. The result of that work has been a recommendation to adopt a goal of the church becoming a net zero user of energy, and to take the necessary steps over time to achieve that goal. To become a net zero user of energy, the church building and its operations would need to generate as much energy from renewable sources as it uses on an annual basis. Part of their action plan has been to take advantage of the beating sun by installing solar panels on the church’s roof. Part of it has been to pay attention to ways the beating sun might not advantage the church property, and thus the wider world, and remedy that by planting trees.
This isn’t the first time the MassReLeaf Ministry has partnered with Village Church to facilitate a tree-care project. The group, which has recently completed ten years of facilitating tree-care projects led by local religious organizations of any faith on public and access-qualified lands across Massachusetts, in 2015 gave funding and technical support to another project in town. During that project, parishioners left the pews and went out into the town to work on a tree, perennials and wild flower planting event. At the Wellesley/Newton Housing Authority sites at Morton Circle and Weston Road in Wellesley, seven trees, 44 perennials and several wildflower meadow test sites were planted on Housing Authority and Natural Resources Commission (NRC) land.
Village Church, which in 2014 was accepted for inclusion on the National Registry of Historic places, invites the public to tour the churchyard and enjoy the new plantings.