by Lisa Tome
Steve Basht brought life to an Old Rugged Cross.
Basht, a wood craftsman, went to extreme lengths to distress wood for a cross he built for Janes United Methodist Church. He took 40-year old pine, chained it to his pickup and dragged it up and down his gravel lane. He also beat it with chains and other objects including a lawnmower blade. It was finished with motor oil rather than stain. "It's a workingman's cross," said Basht.
The creation of the cross has been a long time coming, explained Janes' Pastor Bert Jicha. It measures seven feet by four feet and is a little over eight inches wide and was a true labor of love.
"The original goal was laity driven. They wanted a cross prominent in the sanctuary as a symbol of our faith first and foremost," said Rev. Jicha, who said the plan for a cross in the sanctuary started before he accepted the call to the church.
The idea of having a cross in the sanctuary was discussed for more than two years. Janes member Debi Madron drove the idea, along with Steve Allred. Church sound man Mark Deckman had been creating miniature cross lights. His work was used as a model.
On Tuesday, October 24, the work started in earnest. By Friday, the project was completed, faster than was expected.
Pastor Jicha saw the cross on Friday afternoon.
"Wow. I love it. It's more than what I hoped for. It gives a divine glow. It's impressive," said Pastor Jicha.
The wood Basht used also has a deep connection to the church. It came from property owned by the late Dr. Neil Taylor's family. For generations, the Taylors have been members and supporters of Janes UMC.
Much of the work was donated. Craftsman Butch Smythe and his wife, Christine did the trim work creating a shadowbox for the cross. Donations from church members paid to recess the cross and trim work in the sanctuary.
"I appreciate the personal connections. It's all connected with the church and the community. I find that very meaningful. We're a Christ-centered church," said Pastor Jicha.