The cross at the front of the sanctuary is an original piece of art by Bill Heaton (b. 1918) of Taos, New Mexico. Heaton worked in metals and devised a new method of fashioning wall sculptures in a spectrum of hues. Using large sheets of copper, brass, or aluminum, he decorated the metal with hand-cut pieces of gold, silver, brass, steel, or lead that were then heated from underneath with a blowtorch. Finally, Heaton painted the work with a combination of chemicals to create a mural. The result was a shimmering surface of blues, greens, and reds.
Mary Russell Regen of Lebanon witnessed Heaton’s work and commissioned a cross for First Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary. He created a piece called I Am the Vine based on Jesus’ words in the Gospel According to John 15:5. On close inspection of the cross, an intricate pattern of vines can be observed. The cross was presented to First Presbyterian Church in 1965.