Maintaining sacred grounds at a Pottsville cemetery

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Several trees stand tall above graves stones at the United Presbyterian Cemetery in Pottsville.

“There’s been a large tree that is very dead,” said Albert Matz, United Presbyterian Church.

This very dead tree that United Presbyterian Church elder Albert Matz speaks of has branches hanging, just waiting to fall down.

“It’s dropping branches all over, and we’re afraid if anyone’s walking they’re going to get hurt,” said Matz.

The church is in charge of maintaining the cemetery which is the final resting place for more than 100 civil war soldiers.

The church found out a couple of years ago the dying tree would eventually have to be removed. In July, they realized that time is now, calling for an emergency tree removal at this hallowed burial ground.

“Just the maintenance of it shows dignity and respect then for the dead. Like I said, especially for the Civil War veterans,” said Tom Shay, United Presbyterian Church member.

The cemetery has nearly two thousand bodies laid to rest. The church has been struggling to maintain the land. The tree removal just adds another financial burden.

“With an elderly population and shrinking congregation it’s just harder for us to maintain,” said Matz.

United Presbyterian Church got an estimate to remove the tree. The cost? 15-hundred dollars. The church is asking for the community’s support to help foot that bill and cover other general upkeep expenses.

“I think it’s important for the community, says a lot about it. How you maintain your cemetery. How you show respect for the dead,” said Tom Shay, United Presbyterian Church member.

Click here to learn more about United Presbyterian Church and its cemetery and how you can help.

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