(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Almost two years after a massive 62-foot replica of Jesus Christ was struck down by lightning in a rampant blaze, the Solid Rock Church statue in Southwest Ohio will finally be rebuilt by July.
The sculpture, which was known as the "Touchdown Jesus" statue because of the way Christ was depicted with his arms raised in the air, will now be called "Lux Mundi," which is Latin for "Light of the World." Tom Tsuchiya, the sculptor in charge of restoring the large statue, confirmed that crews will begin erecting the statue on July 16, and by June 20 the replica will be ready to be unveiled to the public.
The new statue will be a little bit shorter than its predecessor, standing at 51 feet tall, Cincinnati.com reported.
The steel foundations for the statue were first laid out in Sept. 2011, and it is costing between $250,000 and $750,000 to rebuild it. The original statue, built in 2004, also cost $250,000.
A short video by the Middletown Journal shows images of the 2010 blaze that destroyed the original "Touchdown Jesus" statue, photos of the small clay model on which the new "Lux Mundi" statue will be based, as well as the framework of the new giant statue being raised up by construction crews.
Some have questioned the great costs associated with rebuilding the statue, with some critics alleging that it is a "graven image," and that the money should instead be used for helping people. The Solid Rock Church, however, has disagreed and said that the sculpture is made to be seen as a symbol.
Solid Rock Church, which has two campuses in Ohio, is not associated with any denomination, although its doctrine is similar to the Assemblies of God, according to its website. The church, led by Pastor Darlene Bishop, operates a Brazilian orphanage in South America, has a prison ministry, and a home for women recovering from various life crises.