Behind the scenes with the Christmas trees

News | December 6, 2018

Early Tuesday morning, just as the chilly day began, several teenagers pulled into the parking lot at St. Paul. They were there to see a project they worked on do its job.

At the request of Matt Spencer, building manager, this welding class from Davenport West High School made a custom-built tree stand for one of the large Christmas trees that adorns the front of the St. Paul Sanctuary each year. It’s the second time that the welding students at West have built such a thing for St. Paul.

“It’s a small trunk for a 22-foot tree, and I needed a stand to accommodate that,” said Matt, who leads the tree selection, placement, and decorating operation each year. From start to finish, it takes approximately five days to get it all done (though Matt admits he thinks and dreams at least half the year about the trees).

Andy Zinn is the West High School welding teacher. The welding course is an early bird and first block class, meaning it runs about 2 1/2 hours each day. Ben Stolenberg and Zach Chapman were the primary builders for the new tree stand. The students had to cut the base plate first, but a short time into the project, they soon realized there was a piping issue. They did not have a big enough pipe in their supply, so Mr. Zinn had to look to outside sources for supplies.

Ben had no worries about the project but his colleague Zach had a slightly different demeanor. “My thought was, this must be one big tree,” Zach said. The project continued with a donation from Hempel Piping. Two weeks after the start date, the job was finished.

All that was left was the task of putting the trees – 22 feet and 27 feet tall – upright into the stands.

As the class walked into the Sanctuary, Matt explained how the process would work. Soon enough, the 27-foot tree was in the hands of 20 teenagers, carried down the middle aisle of the Sanctuary and placed into the first stand built by a previous welding class.

Next came the smaller tree (22 feet). Up it went into place in the new stand without a problem. By 8:30 a.m., the smell of Christmas filled the air in the Sanctuary.

Now decorated with white lights and red bulbs, the trees are ready for Choral Advent and the Christmas pageant on Sunday.

6 Comments on “Behind the scenes with the Christmas trees”

  • jerry Zinn

    December 10, 2018 at 1:41 am

    Andy Z. has a special God given ability to work with these young people. He cares about them, and, they care about him. He works daily to make them better welders, and more importantly, better young people. Andy comes from a family of teachers. Once the trees were in place, with much thanks to the young men, Matt Spencer began the arduous task of decorating the trees with ornaments and over 6,000 lights. I am pretty sure Harry O. also had a role in assisting Matt. Great job by all.
    Proud Dad

  • Deanna Hessling

    December 8, 2018 at 11:01 am

    A shout out to all the students at West who helped out with this project.

  • Tim Sondag

    December 7, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Our family absolutely loves the trees and decorations each year and we know it has to a very difficult and well orchestrated task to pull it off. Thank you to all those involved!

  • Marcia Jensen

    December 7, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Andy Zinn is a great example of dedication to and love for his students! He has impacted many lives.

  • Marci Barnhart

    December 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    So proud that our students from West had a part in this and were able to experience their work first hand. Not to mention being able to see the beauty of St Paul as it readies itself for Advent. #proudtobeafalcon

  • Sarah Thomas

    December 6, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    I love the fresh and huge Christmas trees! My first visit to St. Paul’s was an evening service in Advent. I felt right at home.

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”