The lyrics of the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful” marvel about “all creatures great and small,” while admiring “each little flower that opens” and “each little bird that sings.” It’s a celebration of nature even on its tiniest scale.
The Hope United Methodist Church in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, seems to have taken inspiration from the popular song to create a nature preserve on its grounds.
While it’s a familiar sight to see widespread green lawns in front of houses of worship, the community decided to instead use that space to encourage biodiversity.
Instagram account Homegrown Natural Park (@homegrownnationalpark) explained how the church did so in a video, starting with a volunteer day to plant plugs that would eventually grow and populate the meadow.
Before-and-after pictures didn’t show much growth after the first year, but by the third, it was a healthy, colorful patch that was home to a number of flowers, insects, and other animals.
“Can your place of worship devote part of its landscape to regenerating biodiversity?” the video caption asks.
“I think about this every time I pass a church and see allllllll that grass,” one commenter said.
“This is great!! Finally a church that takes God’s call to be stewards of His creation seriously,” added another.
“That’s doing the Lord’s work right there!” wrote a third.
It’s a great idea, and it seems like an imaginative use of space to grow native plants that can bring so many benefits to the local ecosystem.
The Hope United church isn’t the first to use its land for environmental benefit. Faith Community Church in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, provided a home for an array of solar panels in its parking lot, generating 700 kilowatts of clean energy to benefit residents of the community in the low-income bracket.
Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America has given its support to a more sustainable future by stopping investments in dirty energy companies.
Back in Pennsylvania, though, members of the congregation are now having some services held outside, where they can experience the wonder of all of nature’s creations, great and small.
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