Thank you to Bruce Wood for restoring David Livingstone’s walking staff.

One of the five figures carved into the pulpit here at First Congregational Church is the 19th Century Congregational missionary David Livingstone.  I wondered why he was carrying a torch in his hand, and on closer examination realized that sometime over the years the bottom part of Livingstone’s walking staff had been broken and only the top part remained.  

Knowing that Bruce does wood carving I asked if he could get some oak and restore the staff to the carving.  He graciously agreed to do so, ordered the dowel, carved, stained and installed it.  And it looks great!

The staff and the Bible are part of the image of Livingstone; part of his iconography.  His left arm was mauled by a lion, so he grasped a staff in his left hand, which made it less noticeable.  So having the staff in his left hand is a significant part of the story.  Below is another statue of Livingstone:

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”

In the northwest corner of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a statue of one of their native sons; David Livingstone.  It was exciting to discover this on my own as a tourist – the gardens are between the old castle and the new town.

Here is a description of the statue:  David Livingstone statue, Princes Street Gardens Statue commemorating the Congregationalist missionary, explorer of Africa and enemy of slavery who became the popular hero of an entire late-Victorian generation. The statue was proposed in 1874, a year after reports arrived of Livingstone’s death in Zambia. He shares the plinth with the lion he shot in Mabotsa. Savaged by the enraged animal before it was brought down by a spear, Livingstone lost the effective use of his left arm, which was crushed; but his right arm retains the power to extend the Bible.

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