Meet Barry Cox. This man has quite a skill and quite a story. Some boys grow up and dream of becoming a fireman or a doctor…Barry wanted to be the Pope. As life would have it, Barry settled for being an altar boy in his hometown, Shannon in New Zealand. But that’s only where his adventure was just beginning.
His love of architecture mixed with history, led him down a road not even he expected. Read on and be inspired by his 4-year journey in building a church.
As Barry traveled, he became even more fascinated by churches and their architecture. He studied their height, depth, width and other angles that made them all so beautiful.
His love and passion for these churches only fueled his desire to build one himself. With a twist. Barry wanted to build his church from trees…only!
He purchased property in Cambridge, a town in the Waikato region and began construction on approximately 3 acres. He first cleared the land and began from scratch. He built an iron frame first with the idea of using trees and plants and flowers to fill in the gaps.
Barry planted over 4,000 trees on his Dairy farm and used his TreeLocations company to relocate the trees to his church property.
For the roof, Barry used cut-leaved Alder due to its flexibility and “sparseness.” Any thicker and there would be no sunlight, so the Alder was the best choice. Copper Sheen trees were planted as the walls. These trees are sturdy and take on a stone look as they mature. And, in order to keep its shape, Barry is forced to prune and trim these trees regularly.
The church is bordered by a thick, dense hedge which requires very little upkeep. And rose bushes wildly climb the exterior walls which offer a beautiful bloom come October.
At the entrance stands iron gates that are from his family farm. And inside, there is a marble altar linking Barry to his ancestral home in Italy.
The Tree Church was not originally designed to be open to the public but when Barry’s nephew asked if he could use the church for his wedding…well, the rest is history. Barry has now opened his Tree Church up for all to enjoy.
In addition to the maintenance, Barry would like to design and create an outdoor amphitheater for residents to enjoy during the summer months.
We thank you, Barry, for sharing this beautiful creation that was inspired by God Himself. May God bless you and your efforts in creating such a beautiful sanctuary for all to enjoy!
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