Church finds new use for dying tree

The tree, in front of the Grace United Methodist Church, 1401 W. Main St., had been damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer, said Vickie Downing, church pastor. But instead of simply pulling the tree from the ground, she researched other possible uses online and learned it could be remade into a sculpture.

The church sought the help of Greg Henry, a local artist and the owner of Wild Thingz Art Studio. Henry is already working to transform the stump into a sculpture of a shepherd carrying a lamb. Henry used a chainsaw to develop the basic shape, and will finish carving the statue by hand over the next several days, he said.

The sculpture has already drawn interest from members of the church and other visitors. It will also ideally serve as a symbol of what the church stands for, Downing said.

“I think that the tree being transformed into something beautiful is a representation of what Christianity is supposed to be,” Downing said.

Henry said the initial plan was to finish the sculpture in five days, although the weather could cause a slight delay. When finished, he said it will be a good use for the tree.

“It’s also in harmony with the place here,” he said of the church.

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