MONROE, Ohio, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Construction on a 51-foot replacement for the "Touchdown Jesus" statue at an Ohio church has begun, officials said.
The first 20 feet of the new statue were erected Wednesday at the Solid Rock Church on Interstate 75 near Monroe, the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reported. When it is finished, the statue will stand about 51 feet.
"It's a reminder for those who go up and down I-75 that Christ is the hope of the world and that he is the light of the world," Ron Carter, church administrator, said the Lux Mundi statue. "That's one of the missions of the church -- to present Christ to the world and this is one way we do that."
The statue is replacing the "Touchdown Jesus" statue, which was stuck by lightning on June 15, 2010, and burned to the ground. Reports did not say how high the earlier statue stood.
"It really was an icon in this area," Carter said. "The congregation really loved the other statue and it received favorable feedback. When it burned down, we received feedback from as far away as China expressing support and sympathy for the loss of the first statue. I think the new statue will engender the same reaction when it's completed."
Carter said construction on the new statue, which was designed to be more fire retardant, will be completed in September.
"It has to be ready by the dedication ceremony on Sept. 30," he said.