Pollinating insects are of huge importance to the health of Chesapeake ecosystems, the prosperity of agriculture and productivity of gardens. Sadly, bees and other pollinating insects are under threat, from urbanization, overuse of pesticides and diseases.

However, two congregations in Baltimore County, Maryland are keeping bees together on their church property to promote the health of their local natural environment. Maryland Presbyterian Church and Divinity Lutheran Church have gathered a small group of dedicated beekeepers to care for and maintain the bee colonies around the year, a sacred endeavor that intertwines spiritual devotion with ecological guardianship.

The bees forage far abroad though the woods and gardens of surrounding neighborhoods, collecting nectar and pollinating the plants. As the warm embrace of summer envelops the landscape, anticipation builds for the annual honey harvest, a momentous occasion that draws members of all ages from both congregations. The beekeepers remove some of the frames containing the honeycomb from the hives and bring them indoors, where an assembly line is organized to extract the honey from the combs, collect it in buckets, and fill and label the many jars needed to contain the abundant golden harvest.  Hard work, lots of fun, and sticky fingers!

The small jars of honey that are collected are used for gifts to newcomers or visitors to the churches, while larger jars are used for fundraisers to serve as fuel for the continuation of the honey harvest program. Yet, the true beneficiaries of this labor of love are the trees, wildflowers, fruits, and vegetables that flourish in the embrace of pollination, nourishing not only bodies but also spirits.

In this convergence of faith and stewardship, the act of beekeeping transcends mere practice, becoming a sacred covenant with the Earth and all its inhabitants. By engaging youth in these efforts, Maryland Presbyterian and Divinity Lutheran sow the seeds of environmental awareness and responsibility, nurturing not only honey but also hope for future generations. Together, they affirm the profound interconnectedness of all life, honoring the delicate balance orchestrated by bees and instilling a deep reverence and love for the natural world.

If you are interested in learning more about creating an oasis for pollinators this Spring and other ways that they benefit our environment, watch the recording from IPC's Spring themed Learning Lab: Spring is in the Air! Turn Your Garden Into a Pollinator Paradise.

Watch other recordings of past Learning Labs to gain additional inspiration for your budding green team.

Bill Breakey


Past IPC Board Member and Green Team Leader at Maryland Presbyterian Church