Published May 5th, 2021 at 12:00 PM1 minute read
By Kevin Collison
Community Christian Church near the Plaza will rekindle its iconic “Steeple of Light” this Saturday night, celebrating a successful repair fundraising effort and the return to live services the following day, Mother’s Day.
“We had originally hoped to turn it on Easter, but there were some supply chain issues and we pushed it back,” said the Rev. Shanna Steitz, senior minister at the church.
“This worked out beautifully for us this weekend weekend because we’re returning to in-person services.”
It’s been almost two years since the landmark church at 4601 Main designed by Frank Lloyd Wright disconnected the deteriorating light cannons that projected the Steeple’s beams into the night sky.
The church itself, which opened in 1942, also was in need of significant repairs. An effort to have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places last fall helped position the congregation to seek outside financial help.
The non-profit organization Wright on Main was established to seek grants and donations, and together with funds raised by the church, $80,000 was assembled to pay for the new light cannons.
An Omaha firm, Strong Lighting, was hired to replace the four light cannons that transmit the beams. It also does the lighting for the St. Louis Arch.
“They were great partners and do a lot of this kind of work,” Steitz said.
The newly-installed light cannons were tested last weekend.
The plan calls for the Steeple of Light to begin shining at about 8:40 p.m. this Saturday and stay on until midnight.
Steitz said the church will project the Steeple each night next week until midnight as well as a special celebration of its return.
She added her congregation is working with the National Audubon Society to make sure the beams don’t cause problems with migrating birds, adding the church is not aware of any problems from earlier years.
The Steeple of Light was envisioned by Wright and designed into reality by Dale Eldred in 1994, according to the church.
Steitz said the church is continuing to raise money, along with the Wright on Main group, to fund a structural report to ultimately guide its restoration work. That study will cost about $50,000, but can be done in phases.