Cross returns

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:23 PM

That day seems like a logical time for the cross to go up, said David Wisen, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Spring Lake, which now owns the former C3 Exchange/Christ Community Church property.

“Good Friday is the day we remember the death of Jesus Christ on the cross," he said.

The cross will be reinstalled during a public open house between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the church, 225 E. Exchange St. The event includes a 20-minute documentary, tours of the newly remodeled building and refreshments.

To see a timeline of the journey of the Spring Lake church cross, download the PDF in the Related File at the bottom of this story.

“That cross has meant a lot to a lot of people in Spring Lake,” Wisen said. “I think there are a lot of people excited to see it go back up.”

The 45-foot structure has been stored outdoors and on blocks behind Advanced Signs in Ferrysburg for the past three years. It will arrive at the church on Friday on a flatbed truck.

Advanced Signs owner Bernie Wade said his company also took the cross down from the the Spring Lake church. He recently sanded and repainted it.

Installation of the 1,000-pound cross will take two cranes and up to four hours to complete.

“It doesn't go up with Velcro — they've got to weld it,” Wisen said.

Wisen said there is yet another connection for the cross to Holy Week. It was originally erected on the building during Easter weekend 1980 — when the church was known as Christ Community Church — after a new auditorium had been constructed three years earlier.

The cross was a memorial to Edwina Bylenga, donated by her husband, Cornelius. Both were Christ Community Church members. Edwina died in 1975, said her grandson, Eric Edelmayer of Grand Haven.

“I was very disappointed to see it come down,” Edelmayer said of the cross. “I think my grandparents would be thrilled to see it going back up where it belongs.”

Under the direction of Executive Minister Ian Lawton, Christ Community Church became C3 Exchange in 2010. C3 leaders desired to become an inclusive spiritual community, not solely focused on Christian beliefs and symbolism.

C3 removed the cross on June 22, 2010. That action sparked a local controversy and even generated national media attention.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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