UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
(Photo: Tom Childs)

Ontario church cares for creation by keeping bees

“As a faith community, if we don’t look after the planet, we’re missing something,” says one beekeeper and church member.

By Will Pearson

In a field behind Greenwood United, just outside Peterborough, Ont., four beehives buzz with activity. The Greenwood community has been keeping bees since 2016. Earlier this year, their efforts received an accolade from Bee City Canada, a national organization that encourages municipalities, businesses and other organizations to become bee-friendly. Greenwood United is the first faith community ever to receive a Bee City designation.

Greenwood is an amalgamated church, formed from the union of St. Matthew’s and Donwood United churches in 2014. After the merger, the new congregation decided environmental stewardship would be a core value, and beekeeping became a way to live out that commitment.

“As a faith community, if we don’t look after the planet, we’re missing something,” says beekeeper and church member Brian Nichols.

Between five and 10 congregants care for the bees, and another group is in charge of the surrounding pollinator-friendly gardens. The beehives generate enough honey to provide each family in the church with a small jar every year.

Bees and other pollinators play an essential role in our ecosystems, but they are threatened by habitat and food loss due to urban development and industrial farming techniques, according to Bee City Canada.

The hives also serve as spiritual inspiration. “The first thing I felt walking into a hive to work was calmness,” says Greenwood beekeeper Ruth Benson.

“It’s kind of therapeutic,” agrees fellow apiarist Anne Wilson, “as long as the bees are happy that day!”

Rev. Allan Smith-Reeve, the minister at Greenwood, is inspired as well. Bees “co-operate in this common cause, and they end up with this sweet product.” Churches should emulate that kind of community, he says.


Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Editorials

Promotional Image

Editorials

The Observer has a bright future ahead

by Jocelyn Bell

Change is as vital to the publication's history as our founding Christian values are to our future, says editor and publisher Jocelyn Bell.

Promotional Image

Video

Meet beloved church cats Mable and Mouse

by Observer Staff

They're a fixture of Kirk United Church Centre in Edmonton.

Promotional Image

Ethics

January 2019

Where to donate your unwanted stuff so it actually goes to those who need it

by Glynis Ratcliffe

It may be tempting when you declutter to just drop off all your items at Value Village, but sticking with local organizations is a better option.

Faith

January 2019

Former fundamentalists describe the trauma of leaving their faith

by Anne Bokma

At a weekend retreat, participants find the strength to reclaim their lives.

Columns

January 2019

I worry the United Church doesn't want evangelicals like me

by Marilyn Myhre

While the church community says it accepts everyone, one woman wonders if that is still true.

Promotional Image