King of Kings (statue)
|This article is outdated. (March 2013)|
King of Kings was a 62-foot (19 m)-tall statue of Jesus on the east side of Interstate 75 at the Solid Rock Church, a 4000+ member Christian megachurch near Monroe, Ohio, in the United States. It was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire on June 15, 2010.
Located on the Interstate-facing side of the church's outdoor amphitheater, the statue was set on an island at the head of the church's baptismal pool, flanked by fountains and lit by colored spotlights. It depicted Jesus from the chest up, with his arms and head raised to the sky. The statue had a 42-foot (13 m) span between its upraised hands and a 40-foot (12 m) Christian cross at its base. The completed statue weighed 16,000 pounds (7,000 kg).
It was designed by Brad Coriell, sculpted by James Lynch, and assembled by Mark Mitten.
Constructed on a metal frame or armature manufactured in nearby Lebanon, Ohio, the sculpted figure itself was created in Jacksonville, Florida, then trucked north. The main body of the statue was made from a core of Styrofoam covered by a thin skin of fiberglass.
The sculpted statue was completed in September 2004 at a cost of approximately $250,000. Money for its construction came from earmarked donations and not from the general funds of the church, and Coriell donated some of his time to the project.
Popularity and nicknames
Since its construction, the statue has been given many nicknames, both affectionate and derisive, by local residents and I-75 travelers. Among them are:
- Big J
- Touchdown Jesus (The statue's most popular nickname, American football referees signal a touchdown with a similar gesture)
- Super Jesus
- MC 62-Foot Jesus (like musician MC 900 Ft. Jesus)
The statue is also credited with inspiring two musical works:
- Comedian Heywood Banks wrote and performed his novelty song "Big Butter Jesus" about the statue.
- Singer-songwriter Robbie Schaefer of the band Eddie from Ohio wrote the song "Monroe, OH" after driving past the statue.
On June 15, 2010, the statue was struck by lightning and consumed in the resulting blaze. The statue was sculpted using a thin skin of fiberglass over a flammable styrofoam interior stabilized by a metal frame, and the fire left only its internal metal structure.
Following the fire, the pastor of the church stated that they plan to have the statue rebuilt, but now using fireproof material. In the days after the destruction, the church's digital sign had the message "He'll be back" running. Although the statue cost about $250,000 to construct, it was insured for $500,000 because the artist, Brad Coriell, had donated his time to the creation. The damage to the statue and amphitheater was estimated at $700,000 with $300,000 being for the statue and $400,000 for the amphitheater. PETA has offered funding through an "anonymous Christian donor" to help rebuild the statue if they are allowed to promote veganism at the church.
In June 2012, it was reported on WLWT.com, a local Cincinnati news station, that Solid Rock Church was beginning construction on the replacement statue. However the design will be different from the original "Touchdown Jesus"; the new 52-foot statue called Lux Mundi will be "...a full-bodied Jesus with arms reaching out, as if beckoning".  
- Maag, Chris (2005-11-18). "Giant Jesus statue keeps watch over Ohio interstate". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Lightning Razes 'King Of Kings' Statue". Cincinnati, Ohio: WLWT. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Morse, Janice (2010-06-16). "'Touchdown Jesus' statue's destruction brings flood of donations". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "62-Foot Jesus Along I-75 Gaining Giant Attention". WLWT News 5. 2004-11-24.
- Robbie Schaefer, Strange and Lovely World
- "King of Kings statue destroyed by fire". kypost.com.
- "Statue of Jesus destroyed by lightning strike". WXIX-TV "Fox 19". 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- "Lightning strike destroys Touchdown Jesus statue". The Guardian (London). Associated Press. 2010-06-16.
- "Lightning Razes 'King Of Kings' Statue; 'He'll Be Back'". WLWT Cincinnati (Hearst Television, Inc). 5 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- Baker, Jennifer (2010-06-16). "'Touchdown Jesus' fire leads to few gawking tickets". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Grossman, Cathy Lynn (22 June 2010). "PETA offers to rebuild, brand Jesus statue: Next offer, NRA?". USA Today (Gannett Company). Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- "2 years after fire, Jesus statue returns". 18 June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- "Construction progressing on new Jesus statue along I-75". WCPO. June 15 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
- McCrabb, Rick (19 September 2012). "Giant Jesus landmark returns to I-75". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "52 foot Jesus replaces predecessor". Cincinnati.com. 2012-19-09. Retrieved 2012-26-09.
- "Solid Rock Church website".
- "Pictures of the statue".
- "Video of Heywood Banks performing "Big Butter Jesus"".