A 50-foot-high statue of Jesus is being rebuilt outside a megachurch in southwest Ohio to replace the iconic sculpture that burned down after being struck by lightning last year.
The steel framework for the new statue went up Friday outside Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe to replace the original, 62-foot statue, according to Cincinnati.com.
The original “King of Kings” statue, popularly known as “Touchdown Jesus” because it appeared to rise mid-waist from the pond with hands stretched overhead, will be replaced with a 50-foot but full-body sculpture of Christ.
Lux Mundi, meaning Light of the World, will be the new name of the statue as it will depict Jesus walking with arms outstretched, according to statue designer Tom Tsuchiya, who works out of Essex Studios in Avondale.
It took a 45-ton hydraulic crane six hours to lift the steel frame, which was transported on flatbed trucks and assembled at the church. The full structure is expected to be completed by the end of the year, as parts for the outer shell are still being manufactured.
Tsuchiya took a 5-foot-tall clay and Styrofoam model of the statue to a high-tech firm in Springdale Thursday to be scanned onto a computer, according to The Journal Gazette. Those scans will be used to make molds to create the final statue.
The new statue will be made of non-flammable materials and have a lightning-suppression system. The estimated cost is between $250,000 and $750,000.
Critics in the area last year protested against the church’s plan to rebuild the statue, alleging it was a “graven image” or that the money should instead be used to help people. The church leadership responded saying the statue was a symbol, not for worship.
The original statue cost $250,000 in 2004, but it was insured for twice that amount by adding costs for the time artists donated to the project.