When one of its beloved live oak trees was lost to disease in December 2021, Montgomery Presbyterian Church mourned its loss then set out to have the tree stump transformed into a sculpture (completed December 2022) that could serve as an inspiring symbol of growth and community. That sculpture was celebrated at a community-wide dedication ceremony March 5 at noon on the church grounds, 10192 Ferguson Avenue.
“It broke our hearts when we lost that tree. It had been there and had served many people for 260 years,” says Pastor Rev. Dr. Mark Giuliano. “We knew it had to come down. We all grieved in formal and informal ways, but then God planted a vision in our hearts, just as He promised Isaiah*, we believed that from the huge stump of our old tree, new things would grow.” *The holy seed is its stump. – Isaiah 6:13b
After several congregational discussions to determine the vision for transformation, a team of church volunteers contacted Brian Ruth, the original Master of the Chainsaw, 40-year leader in the global field of chainsaw carving. He began work in December 2022. In less than a week, the remains of the beloved oak tree was transformed into a sculpture of two hands holding a heart.
Says Pastor Giuliano, “We see so much Easter symbolism in all of this. We pray that the sculpture can be an inspiration for all and something to be shared and enjoyed with the whole community.” Montgomery Presbyterian Church has long described itself as Savannah’s Little Church with a Great Big Heart. The dedication of the Hands Holding Heart sculpture creates a tangible demonstration of this motto.