Southern Ohio church dedicates new Jesus statue, replaces likeness destroyed by lightning

10/1/2012
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jesus-Statue-Return

Workers put the finishing touches on the new Jesus statue "Lux Mundi" meaning "light of the world" at Solid Rock Church, last month in Monroe, Ohio.

The Cincinnati Enquirer/ Amanda Davidson

Workers put the finishing touches on the new Jesus statue
Workers put the finishing touches on the new Jesus statue "Lux Mundi" meaning "light of the world" at Solid Rock Church, last month in Monroe, Ohio.

MONROE, Ohio  — A southern Ohio church has drawn a standing-room crowd for the dedication of a giant likeness of Jesus Christ that replaced a similar iconic statue destroyed two years ago in a lightning fire.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, north of Cincinnati, dedicated the 51-foot statue at a service Sunday night.

Nicknamed "Hug Me Jesus," the lighted statue depicts a full-bodied Jesus who's standing with open arms. It looms over the adjacent lanes of Interstate 75.

The previous statue that was ruined by lightning in 2010 was known as "Touchdown Jesus" or "Big Butter Jesus" for its creamy color. It depicted a waist-up Jesus with arms uplifted.

Sculptor Tom Tsuchiya received a standing ovation from the crowd Sunday night.