Golden Valley Church Toasts Oak Tree Before Removal
When an old oak tree on the property of Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church in Golden Valley needed to be removed, members gathered to toast the tree one last time. The tree has provided shade for weddings, ice cream socials and more in the last 100 years.
“I love the tree. Look at how beautiful it is. I’ve worked here for 30 years under that old oak tree.,” said Diane Maney, director of childcare at Sunshine Valley Childcare, which is located inside the church. “The children love the tree. They love to come out and rake the leaves under the tree. Have music class under the tree. Go sledding down the hill under the tree and avoid the tree. They learn how to bail out at an early age, when sledding down the hill.”
But this year, the attitude toward the tree changed.
“We believe it was struck by lightning several years ago and you can see that its dying from the top down,” said Rob Alber, chair of the trustees at Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church. “The tree is coming down because the daycare here uses this courtyard. The fact that we wanted to possibly save the tree, however, it is a hazard in that the branches could fall down at any moment. So the council and the trustees decided that it was time to come down.”
But the church plans to salvage the wood and perhaps repurpose it in some way.
“If we can repurpose those main sections, that main area, we would maybe make a picnic table out of it, or make some alter tables. Or we have communion tables that we would like to use,” said Alber.
A Farewell Toast to the Tree
On the night before the tree was scheduled to come down, church members gathered to toast farewell to the tree. People raised their glasses, read poems and shared memories.
“I’ve heard stories 50-60 years ago they had ice cream socials under here. They’ve had weddings. They’ve had all sorts of things. So this church was built in the 60s and we’re guessing it’s 160 years old. So it’s been here a very long time,” said Alber.
“This thing has seen and heard lots of activity. And if trees could speak so we could understand, it would be an amazing story that we could hear,” said Pastor Jeff Hansen of Spirit of Hope Methodist Church.
The daycare already has plans to use the grassy area where the tree once stood. And now, kids won’t have to swerve to miss the tree either.