Refurbished Chancel Wall Cross from 1935

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Project by J. Curtis Goforth posted 08-05-2016 02:58 AM 294 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

I pastor the oldest Methodist Church in the mountains of North Carolina. Bishop Francis Asbury used my church as a base for starting all the other Methodist Churches in western NC and beyond way back in 1801. The church has been through three buildings in its 215 year history, and the sanctuary appointments are quite varied.

We have been trying to reclaim our history in some small ways in the liturgical space of the church, starting with a project I posted a few months back that was a refurbished pulpit from the 1879 church building. We unfortunately had to take down two 317-year old white oak trees but I was not going to let them become mere firewood! We used some of the oak to refurbish the old pulpit, and we have used more of it to refurbish a handmade walnut cross that has hung on the back wall of the church since Mothers’ Day, 1935. The cross is a beautiful piece in and of itself, especially when one thinks that it was completed with a handsaw alone! But, the cross was a bit small for the space and always seemed dwarfed by its surroundings. With that in mind, and with all sorts of awesome white oak lumber that has been kiln drying for 3 years, we set out to make this one better. We didn’t want to do anything to the old one, except make it a little bit bigger and to make it look like it was designed to go with the old walnut and oak pulpit.

I hand carved the alpha and the omega characters with a 1/2” chisel…quite a chore in quartersawn white oak…and another church member gilded the letter carvings with gold leaf. I also had a lot of help in the construction of the enlarged cross from another church member who has much better tools and skills than I do! Anyway, all said and done, this is a great improvement to our worship space I believe.

The third picture is of the cross before the refurbishment. Thanks for looking.

1 comment so far

View Jason Leo's profile

Jason Leo

32 posts in 360 days

#1 posted 08-10-2016 12:57 PM

The cross looks great. I love the idea of restoring some of the Church’s heritage.


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