Sanctuary Cross

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.