The Rt Rev’d Andrew Hedge, Bishop Anglican Diocese of Waiapu launched the Communion Forest in Waiapu at a service of baptism and confirmation at Woodford House, an Anglican boarding school for girls aged 11-18, which was held on Sunday 4 September 2022, the first Sunday of the Season of Creation with the support of the principal of the school, Mrs Julie Peterson. This is significant in the life of the school as it places the challenge of responding to the climate crisis at the heart of the school, intertwined with developing hope through faith and engaging intellect and the arts in finding a response for a generation who will lead the world through this crisis.
Later, in September there was a launch of the Communion Forest for the Diocese of Waiapu during the Synod. Each of the archdeacons was presented with a tree to plant within their archdeaconry as a symbol of connecting to the wider Communion Forest and they were charged with taking the message of the Communion Forest to their archdeaconries and encourage the development of nurturing tree seedlings for times of celebration in faith.
Further, in October, the Rev’d Ruth Dewdney, included in the liturgy of farewell, the planting of a tree to add to the Communion Forest in the Parish of Te Puke, which regularly hosts men and women who travel from Vanuatu each year to work as seasonal workers in the Kiwifruit orchards nearby. Rev’d Ruth intends to repeat this tree planting event each year in recognition of the community of people who travel from Vanuatu each year to support the Kiwifruit industry but also to make links with the Anglican parishes in Vanuatu where they come from, and to highlight the challenges of climate crisis faced by the islands of Vanuatu.