(Photo: Display Dynamics, Inc.)
An Ohio church that once had a large statue of Jesus known as "Touchdown Jesus" has completed construction of its equally large replacement.
The Lux Mundi Jesus statue was put in front of Solid Rock Church of Monroe off of Interstate 75 on Wednesday, being positioned by a lake the church owns.
Tom Tsuchiya, a sculptor with Design Dynamics, Inc. who designed the Lux Mundi (or "Light of the World" in Latin), told local media about his concerns and relief about the project.
"It turned out exactly the way I wanted … Even though we had dry-fitted and test-fitted all the parts, my greatest fear was that something would not quite fit right, that there would be a huge gap between the pieces," said Tsuchiya to Cincinnati.com.
The Lux Mundi statue, which like its predecessor is 62 feet tall, depicts a full body Jesus with arms outstretched walking on the lake in front of Solid Rock's sanctuary.
In 2004, Solid Rock built a large statue of Jesus that depicted him from the torso up as though rising from the pond by the church's amphitheater worship space. While the six-story statue was officially named the King of Kings, it quickly garnered the affectionate nickname "Touchdown Jesus," due to the positioning of the arms bearing a resemblance to the football referee's signal.
In 2010, a storm ripped through the area and a bolt of lightning struck "Touchdown Jesus," causing the statue and part of the amphitheater to be burned. While no one was hurt and the amphitheater would be repaired, all that remained of "Touchdown Jesus" was a heavily damaged iron frame.
Ron Carter, administrator at Solid Rock, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that unlike the first statue precautions were made with the Lux Mundi Jesus.
"The materials used for the statue are all fire rated and we have installed a lightning suppression system as an integral part of the statue," said Carter.
"If the statue is struck by lightning, I'm told there will be damage at the point of the strike, but the statue should not burn."
As for the reception of the new statue, efforts are already underway to bestow on it a nickname befitting a large prominently displayed statue of Jesus. Cincinnati.com has a poll currently up on its site asking readers to choose a nickname.
The options listed on the poll are "4th and 1 Jesus," "Five Dollar Footlong Jesus," "'I can't believe it's not butter' Jesus," "Replacement NFL Ref Jesus," "Spirit of Jesus," and "Hug Me Jesus."
As of Thursday, over 1,500 participants have voted, with "Spirit of Jesus" in the lead followed by "Hug Me Jesus" in second and "Five Dollar Footlong Jesus" in third.
While Solid Rock celebrates its new statue and many light-heartedly look for a nickname, others are concerned (as they were with "Touchdown Jesus") that the statue may be idolatrous in nature.
Solid Rock Church of Monroe, Ohio, has about 4,000 members and two campuses for worship. It is led by Pastor Darlene Bishop. The church will be holding a dedication service for the new statue on Sept 30.