Inspired by ‘Rainbow Trails’ and ‘Teddy Bear Hunts’ going on in local communities all over the world to raise the spirits of people living with physical distancing restrictions due to COVID-19, Marlene Carroll, with the help of Carol McLaughlin, both from Trinity North Uniting Church, came up with the idea to spread some hope with neighbours around their church.
Marlene and Carol have hung colourful doves – a symbol of hope – from branches of a bottlebrush tree on the verge outside Trinity North Uniting Church Greenwood Worshipping Community.
With the help of Kylie Steed, who works in the administration office of the congregation, they found a dove template and proceeded to cut out around 30 shapes from coloured plastic files – a material sturdy enough to withstand the weather.
Marlene added a sign to the tree inviting others in the community to make and hang their own.
“A few of our church members that live in the street, they shared what it was all about and people have been walking up looking at it,” Marlene said. “Kids have been adding their own doves.”
Rev David Kriel, Minister at Trinity North Uniting Church, has also used video footage of the tree during the congregation’s online worship service.
Marlene said they chose to use the shape of a dove for the symbolism it provided to the church and wider communities.
“The doves are a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christian tradition. It’s to show peace, to show hope, that there are good times up ahead. The community has seen it as something happy and bright, because they’re all different colours.
“We’re just doing something to try and brighten up the community.”
Marlene said she believes it is important for the congregation to get involved with the local community and to show people that, although they aren’t physically meeting at the moment, they still care.
“We are of the community, were involved in the community, we care about the community and we wanted to do a positive thing to involve the community and show that there is hope and peace,” she said.
“We’re not worshipping there [at the moment], but we just wanted to show that we’re still around and we still care.”
To check out the Tree of Hope in person, visit Trinity North Uniting Church Greenwood Worshipping Community, 89 Marlock Drive Greenwood.