“In January 1975, Ron Leichty obtained permission from Marvin and Lydia Mae to remove wood from an aged barn that Amish Bishop Valentine Hochstetler…The lumber was used to construct a cross that was hung in the sanctuary of the Burr Oak Mennonite Church during revival services held on January 27-31, 1975 by Rev. Jerry Leroy Kissinger…

The cross was originally installed in the old sanctuary of the Burr Oak Mennonite Church on Friday, January 31, 1975, after Reverend Kissinger preached a sermon titled, ‘The Cross and Self-Denial’. With his hair disheveled, wearing a crown of thorns on his head, Ronald Leichty entered the sanctuary on his knees, due to the size of the cross.  The cross thumped as it was drug down the aisle.  Upon reaching the front of the sanctuary, Ron realized that he was unable to mount the cross himself and whispered to his father who was seated in the front pew.  Simon rose, climbing over his recording equipment and began to assist his son…

The crown of thorns was a souvenir that Reverend Kissinger purchased…while on a trip to Israel…This Jewish crown of thorns, donated by a Methodist preacher…, remains to this day on the cross built by a Mennonite from an Amish bishop’s barn…The barn originally was used for summer church services, so who knows how many sermons and prayers the weathered cross has heard over its storied years.  How fitting that the most destitute of barns would be transformed into the holiest of symbols, and the very symbol through which God offers the same to us.  Even today, the wood from Bishop Valentine Hochstetler’s barn is a central part of every Burr Oak Church service.”1

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1 Leichty, Sharon Julia, History of the Jasper-Newton County, Indiana Amish Settlement and the Miller Amish Cemetery, 224-225.