A n issue with a problematic tree at St Nicholas Potterspury has been solved – by carving it into a beautiful statue. The 70 foot leylandii tree had been a fixture on the church green for over 30 years, but according to Andrew Stockton, who sits on the PCC at St Nicholas, the fast-growing shrub was starting to cause some problems with the neighbours. “We had to remove the tree as it was causing issues with the property of one of our neighbours – dropping needles into gutterings, along with the roots, which undermined part of their wall.”
It was a decision that “all church members were fine with” but the question remained of what to do with the tree once it was felled. Inspiration would come from north of the border. “I did see a couple of years ago the wonderful stone carving in the quadrant in the church on Iona,” said Andrew. “This image is thought of as the Holy Spirit in feminine form, and proved to be my inspiration behind the commission for the carving.” A local carver, Jason Fryers, undertook the venture, working to a very specific brief from Andrew. “The image came from yours truly and we spoke at length about what we were looking for,” said Andrew. “I wanted a semi-female form which could be thought of as a carved image of the tree’s spirit and also the spirit in all creation.” “The image is one to bring a degree of the feminine into church– we are somewhat male-dominated as a religion and throughout our theology.”
The costs of the carving were covered by the church’s neighbours and Andrew himself, and after five days it was completed – suddenly appearing on the church green. “As a church we have deliberately kept quiet about the carving’s conception,” said Andrew. “This adds to a degree of mystery around our new lady. I have christened her St Treesa! “There has been a great deal of conversation centred around the carving’s sudden appearance. It has been very well received by church members and the wider community, with lots of positive comments and likes on the village Facebook site.” It is hoped that this renewed connection with the residents of Potterspury will continue due to the interest in St Treesa. “The carving will stay outdoors but we may use it in some of our fringe church services, which are very Celtic Church orientated,” explained Andrew. “This may help generate interest not only in the fringe, but in the main body of church activities and services. “We really hope the carving will aid us in our ‘reach out’ programme, and in some way inspires our village community to revisit St Nicholas and to reconnect with the church.