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Jesus Returns to Monroe, OH -- as a Statue

MONROE, Ohio (AP) -- A giant statue of a full-standing Jesus with arms outstretched will replace a mammoth, partial depiction destroyed by lightning outside an Ohio church.

Administrator Ron Carter at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe showed a model of the new, 51-foot statue to the Middletown Journal on Tuesday. Carter says construction will be completed by the end of the year at the site overlooking Interstate 75, where the original had been one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks.

That statue showed Jesus from the chest up and had been nicknamed Touchdown Jesus because of the way the arms were raised outward, like a referee's. It burned down following a lightning strike on June 14.

Co-designer Tom Tsuchiya (su-CHEE'-yah) says work on the replacement will begin in May or June.

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Information from: Journal, http://www.middletownjournal.com

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