When I survey the wondrous cross

When I survey the wondrous cross

Joan Hoar

This beautiful hymn, written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), speaks to the importance of the cross to Christians. At First Presbyterian Church of Tulsa, almost 100 images and symbols of the cross call our attention to the important reminder of our faith.

As we approach First Church from any direction, we view the crosses atop the two steeples, given by Marshall and Anna Milligan’s children and grandchildren. As Anna described the surprise donation the children said, “We often struggle with how to show our appreciation and we now believe we have found something that will be truly meaningful to you. Not only does this gift show our love for you, to us, it represents your dedication and significant involvement in First Presbyterian Church. We hope that when you see the crosses, not only will you think of your love for the Church, you will also think of our love and appreciation for you.”

“It is a powerful witness to our Lord who gives us the strength and courage to live each day by His grace.”
– Dr. William Wiseman

Entering the sanctuary, the architecture draws our eyes upward. The “hanging” cross is the gift of the Esser family in memory of husband and father, Walter Esser. Dr. William Wiseman said of the cross, “It is a powerful witness to our Lord who gives us the strength and courage to live each day by His grace.” Sherye Esser Halliburton continued, “It is that powerful witness silently present in the Sanctuary that does bless me with memories of my parents and their gifts of love, time and talents to First Presbyterian beginning in 1942.

The Kerr Chapel cross, made and given by George Coe, is appropriately located in the Chapel named for the Dr. Charles Kerr family. It is crafted from walnut and bears an inscribed dedication to wife, Nancy G. Coe, mother of Janie Long and Mary Anne Marberry. Janie said, “When I am in the Chapel, I like to go forward to put my hands on the cross and remember my parents. Mary Anne noted, “I do love that cross. When I walk into the Chapel, I always immediately look for it and smile.”

I challenge you to locate one of the numerous crosses, make it special to you, and be reminded of the divine love.

Watch future issues of Tidings for more stories on crosses located throughout the Church from Joan Hoar.

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