Sanctuary Cross

The first of four custom chancel pieces for a new church.

SHOP OWNER: Alan Young
LOCATION: Ypsilanti, MI

    In the fall of 2002, I received a commission to design and build several pieces of chancel furniture for the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Belleville, Michigan. I have finished the first of four pieces. This piece is a large Sanctuary Cross that will hang over a 6' diameter circular window. I completed the cross on March 4, 2003. The cross measures 7' wide and 12' long.
Sanctuary Under Construction

    Utilizing a star in the design of all the pieces seemed a natural fit for a church taking its name from the city of The Nativity. The star will be a common element of design in this cross and the other three pieces to follow. The other three include an altar, a Baptismal Font, and a pulpit.
    Since I had no room in my shop to store it, I had to take it to the church construction site for assembly. As you can see, the crews are in the pre-painting phase and although I did assemble the cross in this room, we removed it afterwards and stored it until the drywall and painting work are all finished. The cross will hang in the middle of the circular window on the left. Sanctuary Cross
Sanctuary Under Construction

    I carried the cross into the room in three separate pieces; the 12' long section, the 7' cross section, and the center-mounted star.
    My first task was to place the 12' long section over the 7' cross section. These pieces are both made up of two 1-inch thick pieces of red oak. I used a half-lap joint at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical pieces and secured the joint using four bolts. To hide these bolts, I'll place the star (below) over them. Sanctuary Cross
Sanctuary Cross

    In a couple of weeks, I plan to attach the cross to the wall approximately 20 feet above the sanctuary floor using lag bolts. To hide the lag bolts on the two sides and the bottom, I'll be using some medallions I made. Note the maple pieces in a star formation. Inside these maple pieces is a copper star, signifying the wounds of Christ.

. . . Alan Young



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