Cross is beacon for Evangelical Lutheran Church

— By PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Pastor Martin Horn in the Evangelical Lutheran Church sanctuary with the new cross, which now stands over Greencastle. The cross was dedicated on Sunday and erected atop the steeple on Monday. It replaces a damaged spire and honors longtime church member Paul Shockey. A crew from Crane Works Rentals scaled the heights several times to prepare the steeple and install the cross. Two cranes were used, including one made by Grove.

A cross now adorns the steeple of Evangelical Lutheran Church, courtesy of the Shockey Family Foundation.

Monday morning a crew from Leeland’s Slate Roofing, hired by the church, installed a 10-foot cross to replace a wooden spire taken down last fall. The spire, at 125 years old, was damaged beyond repair by the elements. It had a weather vane at the top.

Two leased cranes, made by Grove and Telex, were used in the project. Bystanders found a nice connection with the equipment, since the Shockey Foundation was created by Paul and Anna Shockey, longtime members of ELC. Paul, who passed away in September 2012, was the first mechanical engineer for Grove Manufacturing in Shady Grove. He went on to co-found JLG Industries with John L. Grove in 1969, and worked there until his retirement.

The cross was dedicated during the church service on July 21, with past pastor Donald Bohn officiating. An attached memorial plaque honors Shockey, announcing the cross as a gift from the family.

“Paul was a real active member,” said parishioner Tom Pensinger. “He did a lot of things to help out years ago.”

The cross was constructed of copper alloy in a stainless steel frame.

“It’s lighter than wood, with metal overlap,” explained Pastor Martin Horn. “It should last 75 years. At that point, they can resheath it, but it will still be structurally sound.”

With clear coats of weather protection, he said the copper would not corrode, but oxidation would slowly age the exterior to brown.

“It won’t turn green like the wood, and since it will be gradual, nobody will remember what it looked like,” he added.

The construction crew lifted the cross, with a support rod again as long, to a shaft in the steeple.  The Grove crane had a 207-foot span to reach the height needed. Spectators watched from a safe distance.

“The cross will be the lightning rod,” said H. Duane Kinzer, standing in the parking lot. A crosswire was already in place from the old spire, which at 140 feet had been considered the highest point in Greencastle.