Church erects new giant Jesus statue in southwest Ohio

MONROE, Ohio - A giant likeness of Jesus Christ has replaced a similar iconic statue that was destroyed two years ago in a lightning fire in southwest Ohio.

The new 51-foot statue was erected Wednesday at the Solid Rock Church near Monroe. It's visible to drivers along busy Interstate 75.

Nicknamed "Hug Me Jesus," the statue depicts a full-bodied Jesus who's standing with open arms.

The previous statue that was ruined by lightning in 2010 was known as "Touchdown Jesus" or "Big Butter Jesus" for its creamy color. It depicted a waist-up Jesus with arms uplifted.

The Rev. Lawrence Bishop tells the Dayton Daily News that the new statue represents hope, and he wants it to provide people with "a light in their day."

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