On Sunday morning, December 5, 2010, the Campton United Methodist Church (Prestonsburg District) dedicated a tree sculpture entitled “Jesus, The Good Shepherd.” The beautiful work of art was created by chainsaw artist Harley Dougherty of Jeffersonville, KY. After observing Mr. Dougherty’s creation of the wolves sculptures at Wolfe County High School, several church members expressed the idea of obtaining Mr. Dougherty to create a sculpture of “Jesus, The Good Shepherd” using the recently topped tree in the church yard. The idea was well received and approved by the Church Council. Mr. Dougherty was then commissioned to complete the sculpture as soon as his schedule permitted. A fried apple pie fundraiser, led by Betty Gregory, several church members and several devoted helpers, produced the majority of the funds for the sculpture.
Mr. Dougherty produced a sketch of “Jesus, The Good Shepherd” before beginning his work; however, the sketch was what he had in mind at that time. Some things were added as he went along, as the Lord was truly giving Harley inspiration as he progressed. The sculpture includes Jesus as the Good Shepherd with a lamb in one hand and a staff in the other. There are two sheep at Jesus’ feet, one on each side, and Jesus is standing in the cleft of the rock. The figure looks so natural with the flow of hair, the beard, creases in the robe, the detail in the sash and the fingers around the lamb and staff. Included on the rock pedestal design of the sculpture is a fish, the symbol of the early church that let Christians know that they were to meet. On the back side is a scroll with the Ten Commandments, the United Methodist emblem of the cross and twin flames, and in the folds of Jesus robe are flames. Coming around on the other side are a chalice and the empty tomb.
This is the first time that Mr. Dougherty attempted a human figure on this scale. The tree sculpture has become an inspiration to many who stop by the church yard on a daily basis. Our prayer is that the Lord will use this sculpture to remind people Jesus is their shepherd and wants to save them and provide for them. For more information, contact the Campton United Methodist Church at 126 Plummer Street, Campton, KY, or call (606) 668-3229 or (606) 668-6979.
Artist Harley Dougherty (left) and Campton pastor Rev. James Doughton pose with the sculpture.