Bringing back a church forest
When European missionaries arrived at the Nigerian Plateau, they didn’t just plant churches – they planted trees around church buildings. These trees of many species and shapes, with different coloured flowers, made the premises beautiful and connected people, nature and worship.
The missionaries eventually left, and over the years the community cut down the woodland for firewood. Some people, however, still remember how the church grounds used to be and want to bring them back to their former glory. Reverend Enoch Ringmwol is one such person.
Revd Enoch is the residing pastor of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) at Bwi-Logwom, close to the city of Jos. His two attempts at planting trees in the church premises failed – the church members did not understand his initiative, and the seedlings were either destroyed by fire or cut down.
In October 2019, EDEN Creation Care Initiative, A Rocha’s Associated Project in Nigeria, organized a conference for the 27 COCIN congregations in the area. The Bwi-Logwom representatives finally understood the relevance of creation care and Rev Ringmwol’s vision for the restoration of their church forest caught on. EDEN then met with the church leadership and conducted a baseline survey. The church decided on an action plan and began a nursery of 500 native tree seedlings (pictured), including species with edible fruit such as African Canarium Canarium schweinfurthii and African Locust Bean Parkia biglobosa. The rains arrived in April, so planting can begin as soon as the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.