.A few years ago, I attended a Steven Ministry leadership convention in Pittsburgh with two of our church members, Tim Schwartz and Paul Burdick. And at that convention, there were more than 300 people from more than 80 different Christian denominations. I didn't even know there were that many Christian denominations, did you? And even though all of us at the convention were Christian, we were all so very different.
Many of you know, last summer, Greg and I said a tearful goodbye to our beloved cat, Oscar. And although it's been more than year now, we are still grieving. Oscar was so very special to us. In many ways, he was like our child. In fact, we referred to him as our son.
Now, we have memorial services here in the church when our human loved ones die, and that gives us an opportunity to publicly honor and to celebrate their lives -- to eulogize them, to share stories and photos and memories of them. And that helps to provide us with a little bit of closure. And so I wonder why more of us don't have memorial services when our animal children die.
Well last year at this time, our church's amazing Creation Justice Team led us on a cleanup of Douglas Beach and Oval Beach here in Saugatuck. And on that day, we collected more than 100 pounds of trash from the beach.
And last year, we here at the church received these buttons from the United Church of Christ, which read ‘Water is Life, Protect the Sacred.’ And that is the truth. Water is life. Plants and animals and humans -- all living things -- are dependent upon water for life. We can go for a few weeks without food, but without water, we will die in just a few days.
Well, as you can see from this beautiful banner behind me, we are celebrating God's creation this month at Douglas UCC. And today we are focusing on the theme of ‘forest wilderness.’
The dictionary describes the word ‘wilderness’ as a tract or region, uncultivated, and uninhabited by humans, an area essentially undisturbed by human activity. And so the "wilderness" describes those places in creation where humans have had very little presence, or minimal impact. They are those places which remain, for the most part, just as God created them -- uncultivated, uninhabited, undisturbed.