St. Francis Tree Carving Dedication
by Marsha Hobbs Smith,
St. Francis' Episcopal Church, Eureka
On October 4, the parish of St. Francis’ Episcopal Church was delighted to have Bishop Deon Johnson join us to dedicate a tree carving of St. Francis.
The property where the St. Francis church building resides was previously the residence of the Diekmann family and was purchased from them in 2015. A large shingle oak tree, approximately 3 feet in diameter, was located on the northwest corner of the property. The tree was planted about 75 years ago by Arthur Diekmann. Arthur and Bessy Diekmann’s now adult children have very fond memories of the tree as they had built a tree house in it when they were youngsters.
Unfortunately, the tree was dying and needed to be cut down as it had become a safety concern. A member of the St. Francis Bishop’s Committee suggested that perhaps it could be carved into the image of St. Francis, our patron saint. The congregation enthusiastically supported this idea so in 2019, the tree was cut down leaving a 12-foot stump and donations were collected for the carving project.
In September of this year, Ryan Meyer with The Wood Den in Festus, Missouri carved the tree into the image of St. Francis along with his animal friends. During the carving, Ryan found several nails used to attach the ladder steps to the tree house. It goes without saying that this probably didn’t benefit his chainsaw blade.
The members of the congregation, the Diekmann family, and the Eureka community are delighted with the statue. It seems fitting that this tree that brought so many people joy over the years be re-purposed to continue to inspire us to appreciate God’s creation. The statue’s depiction of St. Francis and his care for animals is a reminder to us to care for all of God’s creation. We also pray that the statue’s welcoming message resonates with all that see it: “St. Francis Welcomes You.”
See pictures of the dedication below and on our online photo gallery.