Many Serving as One: The Legacy of Light of Christ
“Light of Christ has been a family, quite literally. I’ve been in many churches where visitors were made to feel like outsiders, but Light of Christ was different.”
Like its signature sanctuary cross — one large cross made up of many individual crosses — Light of Christ Anglican Church in Marietta, GA brought together many with one mission to be the light of Christ to their community.
“The church has welcomed all sorts of people, and in every case the congregation made an effort to reach out to them,” says Fr. Scott Hammond, Rector of Light of Christ. “In every case, the congregation pulled together to love and minister to those in need, even the folks who were not regular members and turned to Light of Christ in a crisis.”
After 16 years of ministry in Marietta, the fellowship of Light of Christ made the decision to close. The congregation held its last worship service on March 15, 2020.
“There was sadness that day, but because we planned ahead and made sure the congregation was emotionally prepared for the final service, it was truly more like a celebration of service to Christ than a gloomy, funereal ending,” says Fr. Scott.
The Light of Christ community was especially glad to have ADOTS Bishop Frank Lyons attending the final service, as he has a special connection with the church and with Fr. Scott.
“This was especially poignant because he had also been Light of Christ’s first bishop when it was founded in 2005, when he was the Anglican Bishop of Bolivia. In 2007 he received me as a deacon into the Anglican Church, and in 2009 ordained me into the priesthood,” says Fr. Scott. “So the church and I have a long history with Bishop Lyons.”
Over the years, those at Light of Christ journeyed with individuals, families, and visitors through all sorts of life-changing situations, and Fr. Scott remembers how the fellowship ministered during times of need, and also celebrated life well.
“I was especially blessed by the way the people of Light of Christ made the effort to minister to my family and me when my mother passed away in 2018. I remember the annual picnics and Christmas parties. These were always times of joy and fellowship.”
In recent years, Fr. Scott says the Light of Christ children’s ministry was a tremendous joy and a crucial service to young people.
“I had a great time training acolytes, a thing that was important to all of the church, but I also wanted it to be fun,” he says. “Seeing young people participating in the main service, the music, the assorted children’s presentations, and hearing of their enjoyment in Children’s Church, always made me remember Jesus’ words, ‘Permit the little children and do not forbid them to come to me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 19:14)”
An incredible and beautiful work of art, the Light of Christ “Cross of Crosses” (pictured left) is just one of the legacies of the church. The church’s first rector, Fr. Charles Osborne, collected all the many pieces of Christian memorabilia during his travels.
“He owned scores of authenticated relics, a huge variety of Christian icons, and another huge variety of crosses and crucifixes,” says Fr. Scott.
Then in 2011, Fr. Charles’ wife Myra – “a very ingenious and innovative lady” – skillfully crafted the sanctuary cross from this collection after Fr. Charles’ passing in 2010.
“She did all of the design and work by herself. Not only was the cross eye-catching, it focused attention in our irregular-shaped nave toward the altar,” says Fr. Scott.
While there was discussion of giving away each of the crosses, it is Myra’s desire that the individual pieces not be separated. Light of Christ is looking for another church that can accommodate their sanctuary cross and maintain it in a good location. It is currently in storage, and it’s their desire to see the many crosses out of the boxes and rebuilt in another church building.
Because as Fr. Scott has said, “Our final dismissal: ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.’ Our service doesn’t end.”
If your church is interested in displaying the Cross of Crosses, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you in touch with Fr. Scott!