First Presbyterian installs new Celtic cross on steeple

A new First Presbyterian Church copper Celtic cross and weather vane matching an old one damaged by high winds in the spring has been installed.

A work crew from ABC Construction of Columbus used a crane Wednesday to place the handmade, 6-foot piece onto the structure’s 144-foot-high steeple.

The tower, given a new copper surface in 2007, is part of the original structure built in 1874 at the corner of Seventh and Franklin streets to house a 2-ton bell.

A sculptor from Nashville, Tennessee, made the new cross, said Paul Arnold, ABC Construction owner.

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The Rev. Felipe Martinez, First Presbyterian pastor, said insurance is covering the cost to replace the cross. He said the symbol at the top of the building is extremely important.

“We were very much interested in replacing it, from both a theological and a historical perspective,” Martinez said. “It’s a witness to our faith — and it’s central to our faith.”

Arnold said the new cross and weather vane is much stronger than the old one and will withstand high winds better.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.