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Answering the Lambeth call: Ottawa diocese digs in to tree planting initiative

Parishioner from St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Ottawa (left to right) Nancy Gover, Rev. Rosemary Parker, Claire Chapdelaine, and Hiang-Lai Lau plants the tree.

June 13, 2024

By Janice Biehn

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The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa’s Branches of Hope project recently moved into action mode when the local working group of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) began to receive orders for hundreds of young trees that will be distributed throughout the diocese.

Branches of Hope is an “offshoot” of the Communion Forest, a global initiative to plant trees, as well as conserve, protect and restore ecosystems throughout the Anglican Communion, launched at the 2022 Lambeth Conference.

This work began in the diocese of Ottawa when the PWRDF Working Group accepted the challenge of its chair, the Ven. Patrick Stephens, to work toward Lambeth’s goal to “renew the life of the earth across the Anglican Communion and beyond.”

A generous donation from Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, enabled the working group to purchase locally grown tree seedlings – red maple and black spruce – that they will distribute to individuals, families, parishes and community groups. Planting trees in the diocese of Ottawa will improve the health of communities for years to come.

Branches of Hope also has an international goal in Uganda, where industrialization, wars and wetland destruction have contributed to flooding and soil degradation. Recipients of young trees in the diocese are encouraged to donate $10 per seedling to support this important work.

PWRDF partner Josephine Kizza of St. Jude Family Projects visited Ottawa’s diocesan Synod in 2023. She explained that she and her family have operated St. Jude’s in Masaka since the 1980s. Today, recognized internationally, the farm attracts students from around the world who are learning the principles of soil conservation and restoration. Tree-planting is also part of the curriculum, and part of the work supported by PWRDF. As of June 12, the Branches of Hope crowdfunding page on PWRDF’s website had raised more than $4,000 towards its goal of $5,000.

The project notes that you don’t need to own land to purchase or receive a tree: trees make excellent gifts. A tree might mark an occasion like a birthday, the arrival of a grandchild, an anniversary or honour the life of a loved one. Some municipalities might also accept seedlings to plant in parks or other green spaces.

Visit the Communion Forest website to learn more about how you and your parish can get greening. If your church or diocese is engaging in Communion Forest activities, let us know at [email protected].

Edited from an article on the Diocese of Ottawa’s website Perspective (, written by Janet Allingham.

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For media requests please contact Communications Coordinator Janice Biehn at (416) 924-9199;366.

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