by Rebecca Deich, LMCH staff

Finished cross on display at Annual Conference

The cross project began when I saw a video on the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church’s Facebook page of the worship design committee led by Rev. Lane Cotton Winn. I’ve always wanted to involve our kids in Annual Conference as a way to teach them more about how the United Methodist church functions, but also as a way for the Children’s Home to express great thanks to the entire conference for their outpouring of support over the life of the Home.

When I heard the theme of this year’s Annual Conference was “Bold Imagination” I thought it would be perfect for our kids to be involved, because after all, children have such huge, bold imaginations!  Once it was agreed that the kids could build the cross to go on the stage for the main worship services held during Annual Conference, the planning phase began.

The kids built the wood frame in the John Allen Vocational Center on our Ruston campus under the direction of carpentry and welding teachers Wade McGaha and Ricky Grant. A smaller cross was also crafted to be used as a processional cross. This was made from a wooden cross that was used on the altar at Faith UMC in Ruston for many years. One of our youth welded metal flames to go on the side of the small cross, which were then wrapped with small twinkle lights. It felt good to breathe new life into the old cross and give it a new purpose. Director of Communications for the Conference, Rev. Todd Rossnagel, visited the Home to film some of the construction of the cross. One young man had written the theme on the palm of his hand (seen at the end of the conference video) and spoke to Rev. Rossnagel about what that meant to him – that he had to “be bold” every day of his life because of  past traumas he had been through.

At the Extension Ministries luncheon on Thursday of AC, the Bishop gave me an opportunity to share about why we wanted to build the cross and how the project came about. I spoke about how the cross was a gift to the churches of the Conference for their continued prayers and support of the Home, but that we also wanted our kids to understand that the Methodist church is there to help “catch them” when they need it. When our kids age out of our services, we want them to know that Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home is more than just Ruston, Mandeville, and Sulphur. Any Methodist church in Louisiana, in the US, and even in the world can be home for them. I was able to make the correlation between a kid coming home from school with an art project, and a loving parent hanging it on their fridge for all to see to our
kids- Methodist Children’s Home kids- brought “home” an art project and the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church has chosen to put it on their “fridge” or in this case, on their stage, to proudly display for all.

Fun Facts about our Cross Project:

  • Kids constructed a large cross for the main stage at Annual
    Conference 2017 to enhance the “Bold Imagination” theme
  • Cross was made of wood paneling with stained glass inserts and was
    back lit
  • Flames were made of corrugated tin, cut out by board member Rev
    Bob Deich who also transported the cross to the Gold Dome at
    Centenary in Shreveport, LA where conference is held
  • The whole thing was supported by a welded metal base and stood over
    11 feet tall
  • Construction took place at the John Allen Vocational Center
  • Rev Stephanie Green said a blessing over the building materials for
    the cross
  • Many MCH staff signed 2x4s that were used in the construction of the
    cross, staff also wrote the first name of a child who had once lived
    at the Home so that these names would all be surrounded and uplifted
    by the prayers said during AC
  • The cross will find a permanent home at the Wesley Center in
    Woodworth, LA

    Rebecca Deich with her father Rev. Bob Deich. Rev. Deich was instrumental in many aspects of the cross project, including getting the cross to Shreveport and back and also helping with parts of the construction phase.
    One of our kids working on the cross with Mr. Wade Magaha.

    Rev. Bob Deich working on part of the cross.

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