Two years after it was struck down by lightning, a giant statue of Jesus will once again stand tall beside its church, overlooking the town of Monroe, Ohio.
The statue long stood by the ironically named Solid Rock Church in Monroe. But in 2010, it was destroyed in a storm. The community waited for two years.
"There's a lot of excitement and gratification that the new statue will finally be up in a few weeks," church administrator Ron Carter said. "We've been anticipating this for quite some time."
Earlier this year, the church enlisted the help of Display Dynamics, Inc., a local company in Clayton, Ohio. It was the second try; an earlier company went out of business before it could finish a new statue.
"The biggest obstacle for us was the already existing metal framework that the other company had already started on," said Veit Parker, marketing director for Display Dynamics. "So we had to figure out how to partner the new materials with the preexisting structure."
"The original statute was completely ruined," Parker said. "It was built out of fiberglass, which is extremely flammable. There was nothing to prevent the lightning strike from doing damage."
So Display Dynamics used a different approach.
"One of the basic materials we're using is large black Styrofoam," Parker said. "And then we'll fill that in with polyurea, which looks like stone and is virtually indestructible."
The materials will ensure the statute can withstand heat and humidity in the summer and cold, dry weather in the winter. And another lightning storm will have little effect on the statue.
"If the statue is struck by lightning again, we've designed it so the strike will be sent straight into the ground," Parker said.
The statute will be delivered to the church in seven pieces, which will be put together on site in late September.
The final product will be about 100 yards from the church, with arms spread out over a large reflective pool. The statue will stand an impressive 52 ft. in height and 32 ft. in width, from finger to finger.
The statue has taken on the nickname "Hug me Jesus" because of its arms. But the official name is "Lux Mundi," which translates to "Light of the World" in Latin.