08/01/10 — New statue of Jesus replaces one vandalized at Evergreen

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New statue of Jesus replaces one vandalized at Evergreen

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 1, 2010 1:50 AM

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Evergreen Cemetery co-owner Elliot Futrell describes the new Jesus statue that welcomes people to the cemetery.

For more than 50 years, Jesus watched over Evergreen Cemetery in the form of a solid white marble statue. Six months ago, the statue was vandalized.

But a new one has taken its place, and once more Jesus welcomes visitors to the cemetery.

Elliott Futrell, of the cemetery on U.S. 70 west and Evergreen Memorial Service, said the statue had stood at the entrance of the cemetery since 1962.

"It had been the signature of this community for more than 50 years and then all of a sudden, it's been vandalized," he said.

Co-owner Jonathan Lane said he was angry and upset when he saw the statue lying on the ground in three pieces one Sunday morning. Not only was the statue broken, but so was the small brick fence around it.

That, in itself, was a feat because the old statue sat on an iron rod about 10 inches tall.

"They had to get over that metal rod for it to come off the rod," Futrell said.

The vandals have not been found.

As soon as people in the community noticed the statue was missing, they began calling Evergreen to see when a new one would be put up, Lane said.

One was ordered from China, where it was done almost entirely by hand, according to Futrell. It took 16 weeks to come over by ship. The new statue, which weighs 70,000 pounds, displays a portion of the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

It differs from the old one, which had been made in Italy, in that Jesus' arms are lifted upward, as if he is welcoming visitors to the cemetery. The old one had the arms down at his sides with the hands out.

"Jesus is the protector of the cemetery," Futrell said. "And he's going to rise in the east. The new statue is facing southeast."