Historic 'God is Love' cross could be demolished soon

- A registered historic landmark in Downtown Orlando may be demolished, as new development takes place.

The historic "God Is Love" cross could soon be destroyed, as the Orlando Rescue Mission prepares to move out of the building off Central Avenue.  Freddy Clayton, president of the men's facility says the Orlando Magic bought the property to build an entertainment complex.

"As soon as we complete the new facility and move in, we will vacate this building and the Magic will demolish it and build their new structures," he said.

But along with this building, the cross would also be demolished.

Clayton says the sign is being held up by wires and would most likely crumble if taken down.

"The structural steel is corroded and rusted and that's the reason it probably won't survive the move," he explained.

He said the lives of many men were transformed at the location.

"This cross has seen it all. It also reflects our deep faith, because we want to share the love of God with the folks who most desperately need it."

At the new shelter, located off of West Colonial Drive, a 27-foot replica of the cross has already been built and residents will be moving into that location a few months.

"With the same inscriptions 'God Is Love' and 'Christ Is Savior,' just as we had for 56 years on the existing facility," Clayton added.

But the new sign isn't historic like the old one, of course.  Clayton said he has reached out to two companies about moving the cross, but none could guarantee it would survive.

"We've contacted the Orange County Historical Society and asked them if they're interested" 

An Orange County spokesperson says they're looking into the situation, but no decisions have been made.  Clayton has faith, someone will save their cross. 

"Any organization or individual who might be interested in helping to preserve the cross we'd love to talk to them," Clayton said.  "It is a major part of the history of downtown Orlando."

The move to the new facility is planned for October.

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