Written by Stuart Budd
On Sunday, September 20th the congregation of St. Paul’s filed out of morning worship and crossed the street into King’s Ward Park for a very special event. In celebration of our 175th anniversary as a congregation in the community of Paris, Ontario we planted a tree that we hope will stand there as a symbol of the life and faith of our church for many generations to come.
The sun was shining and the sky was blue as members young and old joined in placing the 6 foot tall sapling in a carefully dug hole and then all took turns filling in the hole and tamping the warm earth. The tree is a red oak which is a native North American species. The latin name of the red oak is ‘Quercus rubra” . It is a fast growing tree that will reach a height of 60 to 80 feet over time. The leaves of the red oak , true to it’s name, have turned a beautiful, deep red colour as the days of autumn progressed. As it grows older our oak will produce acorns which will be bitter for human tastes but will doubtless be enjoyed the squirrels and birds of King’s Ward.
The tree will provide shade and will add to the beauty of this park which is a jewel in the Paris parks system and enjoyed by many members of the community. The existing trees in the park have seen many comings and goings at St. Paul’s over the years and the park has hosted a number of memorable church events including picnics, vacation bible schools and beef barbecues. This new young tree will join the older trees in the park and will fill space left by trees which have died in recent years. This act of renewal is a symbol of our faith in the ongoing renewal of our church and our community and our planet.
The following words were shared prior to the planting by Stuart Budd, chair of the Anniversary committee.
“For 175 years, St. Paul’s has been a steady presence in this community. We have deep roots in this place. We have provided shelter and comfort and spiritual nourishment to many generations. For those reasons the Anniversary Committee felt that it was very appropriate to plant a tree here as a lasting tribute to our history.
“Thanks to Margaret Kelley and Judy Norman for organizing this project and finding this beautiful red oak tree that we are going to plant this morning.”
Following the planting Pastor Barb Fullerton offered a prayer of dedication and closed the Sunday worship service with a benediction.
“The Anniversary Committee would like to see a permanent plaque placed near the tree to inform visitors to the park and newcomers to St. Paul’s of the significance of this particular tree.
“Anyone who would care to provide a donation to offset the cost of such a marker should contact the church office.
“Today we have invited three members of our congregation to participate in this tree planting representing the different generations of our church family. I invite them now to come forward and throw the first shovels of soil into the hole that will shelter the roots and provide stability for the early development of the tree.”