FREMONT — When Pastor Frank O. King took over the People’s United Methodist Church three years ago, a member of the congregation told him that it needed a cross because many people didn’t know it’s a church.
King didn’t quite believe it at first.
“I was kind of incredulous. I looked at the person and I said, ‘It looks like a church. There’s a sign out front that says it’s a church,’ and she said a lot of people don’t know this is a church,” he recalled.
But soon after he arrived, King discovered for himself that the church member was right.
There were locals who didn’t know where the town’s only church was.
The idea of adding a large wooden cross to the outside of the 95-year-old church on Main Street was then placed on a to-do list.
After a delay during the pandemic, the cross was recently attached to the front of the church, which was built in 1925.
The church was constructed to replace the former Union Church that burned on June 17, 1921, when a devastating fire struck the Spaulding & Frost Cooperage, according to Matthew Thomas, Fremont’s town historian.
It’s the first cross to be added to the outside of the building since a cross was located in a window frame that was later covered over when vinyl siding was installed in 1982.
“To me a cross makes a statement about the love of Christ for everyone and to me it’s like a symbol of welcoming for the community, to know that there is a place that you can come and worship, that you’ll be accepted,” King said.
King said he contacted friend Glenn Brann of Brann Woodworking & Cabinetry in Chester to see if he’d be willing to build a cross for the church. Brann agreed to take on the project and donated the wood, he said.
The feedback from members of the community since the cross was installed has been positive, said King, who plans to retire at the end of the month.
“They’re just ecstatic that it’s up there and it just helps identify us as a church. We’re the only church in Fremont. Hopefully when the new pastor comes in somebody won’t say to him, ‘We need a cross so people know where the church is,’” he said.