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Hearts of L.A. / How the Quake Rocked Our Spirits and Changed Our Lives : MAKING SENSE : 'I think God intervened.'

January 30, 1994|Bill Tunberg | Tunberg, 57, a Venice artist, designed the 16-foot cross of exotic woods that sits near the pulpit of the cavernous new sanctuary of the Bel Air Presbyterian Church, whose congregation includes former President Ronald Reagan. The 300-pound cross, barely anchored to the floor, did not topple, nor was it touched by the water, though everything around it was ruined. and

The cross is an inlaid cross made of cherry wood, padauk and zebra wood. It's 16 feet high and eight feet across. The structure that holds it to the floor is the plinth, which is simply a plywood sleeve.

The building has large fissures in the walls. The venting system has crashed to the floor, the ceiling fell down and the whole sprinkler system was so disturbed that it ruined the entire church. Not a bit of moisture touched the cross.

There are sprinklers above the cross. That sprinkler showered out a huge fan of water. The moisture would've completely buckled the cross and destroyed it much like it did the floor, which is buckled. The whole thing is absolutely destroyed. And it's incredibly tragic and sad for the congregation of this church.

So this is something that was a very important thing to them. And I think that there was something bigger than all of us that helped. I think God intervened in this situation simply to make a point about icons and things that symbolize God's presence. It's as simple as that. I think that he was doing something special for the people here.

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