The tree of life and the life of trees: A Rocha 2012 Environment Resource Pack

A Rocha’s 2012 Environment Resource Pack is freely available to churches worldwide. It can be used on Environment Sunday (the nearest Sunday to the UN’s World Environment Day, June 5th), during Time for Creation (1st September – 5th October, promoted by the World Council of Churches), or on any suitable date. Although the pack is free, churches are encouraged to support A Rocha’s work through a special collection or regular giving. More details can be found at

Read This First

Why trees?

“God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone but on trees, flowers, clouds and stars.”

Martin Luther King

Today, human behaviour is leading to massive deforestation around the world. All of A Rocha’s national projects are involved with protecting and planting trees or forests, and A Rocha International’s Tropical Forests Programme links several of these. In fact our human lives are dependent on trees in multiple ways. The Bible also starts and finishes with trees – in the Garden of Eden and in the heavenly-earthly City. In between, Jesus’ death on a tree expresses our misuse of God’s creation as well as God’s wonderful saving plans for people and all creation.

How to use this pack

The ‘Service Order’ and ‘Sermon’ documents are probably the best place to start. They are in both Adobe PDF and MS Word 2003 form so they can be opened and edited by most systems. In planning a service, the ‘Songs & Hymns’ document will also be useful, and if children are present the two ‘Children’s Activities’ documents contain activities suitable for groups, or adaptable for informal worship. There are PowerPoint presentations to accompany the Sermon and the Act of Repentance in the Service Order. There is also a 3rd PowerPoint presentation, ‘In the Beginning’ which could be used on another occasion or in a time of meditative worship with music played and the words read.

It is A Rocha’s experience that services on creation have the greatest impact if they are linked to other activities. These could include the ‘Group bible-study’, or activities suggested in the ‘Ideas for action and response’, such as a tree-planting day, a neighbourhood project, or fund-raising for one of A Rocha’s or Climate Stewards’ projects. The ‘Stories from A Rocha’s Projects’ can also be included in a church newsletter or magazine. In addition there are plenty of children’s and all-age activities suggested in the ‘Children’s Activities’ that could form the basis for a church ‘fun-day’ on the theme of trees.

Many thanks to all those who have contributed time or resources to this pack, including Dave Bookless, Margaret Decker, Martin Kaonga, Prem Mitra, Melissa Ong, Lisa Ostenson, Caroline Pomeroy, Joshi Premnath, Ginny Vroblesky, Sarah Young – and apologies to anybody left out!

Pack contents

Not included: Children’s activities and ‘In the Beginning’ presentation

Service outline

This service order provides a menu of ideas, either to slot into an existing service pattern, or
to create a specially-themed service. It is designed to be used with the accompanying list of
songs and hymns, and with the sermon on ‘The life of trees’.

The optional PowerPoint can be downloaded and used to accompany the ‘Act of repentance’.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Bible references: Genesis 2; Proverbs 3; Isaiah 55; Luke 13; 1 Peter 2; Revelation 22
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0

Songs and hymns

A list of songs and hymns that may be used to accompany your tree-themed service.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0


The following sermon, mainly based on Genesis 2:8–17, explores the topic of trees and how they are vital for the diversity of life that God calls us to serve and preserve. It reminds us of the tree of life and its focus on a God-centred wisdom, which is rooted in a healthy relationship with God and a healthy relationship with God’s creation – including trees. It also encourages us with a call to action – to relate to trees in practical, down-to-earth ways and rethink how our lifestyles and priorities affect the rest of our earth community.

There is a PowerPoint presentation with slides to accompany this sermon, although it is not essential. There are notes during the sermon to indicate where to change slides.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Bible references: Genesis 2, Proverbs 3, Isaiah 55, Luke 13, 1 Peter 2, Revelation 22
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0

Stories from A Rocha projects

Why A Rocha works in forests: download the video or watch it here.

This information sheet introduces A Rocha’s work with communities in Ghana, Kenya, India and Peru, helping them to protect their land and their resources for future generations.

  • Author: text by Martin Kaonga, video by Melissa Ong
  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Bible references:
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0

Group Bible study

The following group Bible study is based on Genesis 1:11–13 & 29–31 and offers a number of activities and materials for discussion and prayer.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Bible references: Genesis 1, Genesis 29, Psalm 1, Isaiah 55
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0

Ideas for action and response

The following document features different ways you and/or your church can participate in A Rocha’s work with human and wildlife communities. In particular, it provides information on:

  • How to support A Rocha
  • Useful websites
  • Practical advice on tree planting
  • Tree stories from A Rocha around the world
  • Tropical forests where A Rocha is working
  • Hints for creating a ‘Listening to our trees’ Project
  • Author:
  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Bible references:
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0

Fatured image: The infamous tree in Llyn Padarn, Wales by Chris Lloyd (CC BY-NC)