This month I want to call our attention to Carolyn and Doug Turner and tell you about their two passions. Carolyn loves animals. She volunteers most every day at the Richmond Animal League.* She’s been a volunteer there for 18 years. She travels to several localities to take in dogs and cats from local animal pounds in an effort to keep these animals from being euthanized and to hopefully adopt them out to loving families. Carolyn says this about her work, “God created the animals and we’re supposed to take care of them. They deserve a home and love as opposed to living on the end of a chain. In a way we are a voice for the voiceless.” That reminds me of Christ’s call in Matthew 25 to take care of the “least of these.” In this case, the “least of these” happens to be of the four-legged variety. Carolyn says that, “It’s very satisfying to take in skinny, scrawny, flea infested animals and in a few months we will get pictures from their new owners showing a healthy animal curled up in their new owner’s lap.”
Carolyn’s husband Doug is a photographer**. I’m not talking about taking pictures with an iPhone and posting it to Facebook; Doug is legit. He’s a fine art photographer. He travels each year to the Southwest or to New England to photograph beautiful vistas, waterfalls, caves, and anything else that might inspire him from God’s creation. Doug says, “I enjoy taking photographs illustrating God’s glorious and majestic landscapes of the American Southwest. I also love to shoot seashores, wetlands, wildlife and any scene that begs to be captured.”
What I’d like to call our attention to is this: In caring for animals, Carolyn is taking care of God’s creation. With his photography, Doug is asking us to notice God’s creation.
Taken together we have an image of what it means to be faithful stewards of God’s creation. I think God delights in us when we notice the beauty of His creation. Psalm 19 says,
“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
Doug’s photos are vivid reminders of God’s handiwork. Isn’t it a truly divine experience to get lost looking at a mountain vista, or the vastness of the ocean, or to sit beside a quiet brook on a cool fall day? But then we go a step further; beyond noticing the creation, God asks that we “tend His garden.” In Genesis 2 it says,
“The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.”
Carolyn gives us one example of what it looks like to care for God’s creation as she lovingly offers her care to animals in need. My question for us to consider is two fold: How do you notice God in the beauty of our creation? And second, how is God calling you to care for His creation? I want to thank the Turners for how they appreciate and care for God’s creation and my prayer is that God will continue to bless us as we each do our part in “tending the garden.” May God bless Bethel Church.
* If you’re interested in learning more about the Richmond Animal League you can connect with Carolyn Turner at email@example.com or you can visit the website
** Doug’s photography is on display at Art Works located at 320 Hull Street Rd or you can visit his website at
. Doug also took the photo of the inside of our sanctuary that is proudly displayed on our new church directory.