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Victory Baptist constructing nine-story cross in Fieldale
‘It’s all about the cross’
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The Rev. Dan Schelling (left) and David Naff stand in front of the huge cross being created at Victory Baptist Church in Fieldale. The cross will be 110 feet tall — the tallest in Virginia —and more than 60 feet wide. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Victory Baptist Church in Fieldale is building a cross that will stand nearly nine stories high.

The cross will be 110 feet tall and more than 60 feet wide. Naff Welding and Machine Works of Henry, owned by brothers David and Bobby Naff, is building the cross by welding and fabricating the steel.

David Naff is a member of Victory Baptist Church.

“There are none (crosses) in the state of Virginia that tall,” said Victory Baptist Church Pastor Dan Schelling.

The cross is a symbol for “everything that our church believes in and stands for,” Schelling said, adding that the church sings mostly Southern gospel music that focuses on the cross and the resurrection.

“It’s all about the cross,” he added.

The cross will consist of heavy fabricated steel and will weigh about 35 tons, Naff said. At the footings are 300 tons of concrete, he added.

In July, the footings were poured and the first piece of steel was placed in the ground, Naff said. The rest of the cross will be attached to that piece, he said.

The initial piece of steel is 17 feet deep in the ground, Naff added.

All of the pieces of fabricated steel are being put together at the church. Two large cranes will be needed to raise it, Naff said.

The project will cost more than $100,000, Schelling said. It is all being paid for by donations from people inside and outside of the church, he said.

The hope is to have the cross completed before Easter on April 8 so the sunrise service can be conducted under the cross, Naff said. People from surrounding areas will be welcome at the service, he said.

The idea to build the cross came about four years ago when the church choir traveled to Tennessee to participate in a jubilee. On the way there, they saw a large cross in Bristol, Tenn., on Interstate 81 at a church also — ironically — named Victory Baptist Church, Naff said.

After seeing the cross, Schelling called the Tennessee church. Officials there put him in touch with an architect near Richmond who built the cross in Tennessee, Naff said.

The blueprints were purchased and construction began.

The cross in Tennessee stands 75 feet high, but “we wanted to go bigger so people could see it from (U.S.) 220,” Naff said.

Those driving down U.S. 220 can look at the cross and it will “remind them of what Christ Jesus did for us on Calvary” and hopefully “make us think about how we are living,” Naff said.

“The congregation is very excited about the cross,” he added.

A possible second phase of the project would be a military memorial around the base of the cross with American flags and a tribute marker for fallen soldiers, Schelling said.

“A cross is a place to come and pray” and the memorial could serve as a place for loved ones of fallen soldiers to have a moment of silence, Naff said.


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