Painting of Jesus Picture Originally Removed from Ohio School Comes Back Bigger than Ever

( [email protected] ) Oct 21, 2014 06:41 PM EDT
Terry and Cathy Hodgson
Terry and Cathy Hodgson. Photo: Chris Crook/Zanesville Times Recorder

After removing a painting at a public school that depicts Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd, neighbors posted a larger version in their front yard for everyone at the school to see.

The painting, previously displayed in the office of John Glenn High School in New Concord, Ohio, served as a memorial for 80-year-old teacher Margaret Barnett, who died in her classroom in 1971. The artwork was ordered to be removed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013 and the town's school board agreed to remove the Christian icon from the public school. The town's community soon stepped up in opposition.

A meeting was held shortly after the painting was removed and the town's residents gathered together to think up a new way to display the 43-year-old memorial. Originally, a large statue of Jesus was planned, but the $30,000 price tag was determined to be too expensive.

On Tuesday, the finished sign was erected in the yard of Terry and Cathy Hodgson, who agreed to have the image displayed on their private property because it was still in view of the school and the busy area surrounding the school. An inscription of the Old Testament's Psalm 23 is featured on the side of the sign, as well.

The $6,000 structure is internally lit and can be plainly seen during the day or night, according to area attorney, Jeanette Moll. "We're excited to have this piece of our own history back up," she explained. More than two dozen donors, including local chuches, chipped in to pay for the new sign.

"I went to that school and graduated from that school," property owner Cathy Hodgson said to the Zanesville Times Recorder. Hodgson said that the image gave her comfort and offering her family's property for the sign was an easy decision. When asked by Fox News' Steve Doocy if the family is worried about offending anyone with the image, Cathy responded that she did fear that "a little," but she has "a stronger feeling for the good that it will do."

A formal dedication for the sign will take place on October 28th during a prayer ceremony.