FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Curtis Prather
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS) at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is delighted to be working in partnership with the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, the Lebanon Ministry of Education, the British Embassy, British Council, and the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East on an ecological mission project for Lebanese school children, Planting Cedars of Hope. The project is being coordinated by the Rev. David Roche, rector of All Saints Anglican Church, Beirut, Lebanon.
"It is a delight to partner with the All Saints congregation in Beirut, Lebanon and Archbishop Suheil Dawani, and the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East," said the Rev. Dr. Robert S. Heaney, Ph.D., D.Phil., director of CACS. "It is especially poignant that in our 20th anniversary year the Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS) can partner with Episcopalians in the Middle East as they reach out with their Muslim neighbors in ecological concern and ecological action."
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of VTS, lent his support to the project as well, saying, " I am delighted that VTS, through CACS, is making a difference both to the environment and to the lives of young Muslims and Christians in Lebanon. Let us pray that this inter-religious ecological project testifies to a better world and a more peaceful world."
Planting Cedars of Hope will begin with an essay contest in which Lebanese students in grades 6-8 are invited to write one page on “Caring for Lebanon.” One winner from each grade will be invited to spend a day at the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, gaining first-hand knowledge of the importance of protecting Lebanon’s ecological resources.
Speaking to the goals of the project, Rev. David Roche, rector of All Saints, Beirut said, “We aim to contribute to the work of environmental restoration and to mark this with the wider/deeper Christian hope to see God’s goodness cover the earth. For this, the Cedars of Lebanon are not only physically but also symbolically powerful of this hope.”
The Rev. Roche continued, “We are delighted to include different faith groups contributing to long-term efforts towards a reconciled and restored Lebanon, and in particular to help model this vision to the younger generation who together can share future hope in the care of Lebanon.”
Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship Seminary of the Episcopal Church. One of our first benefactors was Francis Scott Key whose poem provides the text for our national anthem. In the 191 years since being established, VTS has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at www.vts.edu.