Bringing Home the Cross

05.17.2021 - Conference & Retreat

Camp Kanuga Cross Restored

St. Andrew’s Chapel at Camp Kanuga, created in the summer of 1962 with the help of campers, sits quietly under the pines on the shore of Lake McCready. Crossing the bridge and processing up the path, named “God’s Walk” by campers, worshipers are greeted by a sign which reads, “Prepare Your Heart for Worship.” Walking in silence once crossing the bridge is a tradition these early campers also created. Wooden benches form a semi-circle facing the lake and an altar made of native stone. Behind the altar stands the tall wooden cross that replaced the original (which had been destroyed in a heavy storm). The “new” cross was made possible in 2009 through a generous donation by Anne Larson in memory of her husband, John Raymond Larson, and a dear Kanuga friend, Mabel Carlisle Brice.

This cross was designed and hand-made by Ted Kratt using mortise and tenon joinery with pegs. Ted is a longtime friend of Kanuga who has made some of our most cherished wooden pieces, including the Advent wreath stand and Processional cross in the Chapel of the Transfiguration, the Celtic wall cross in Kanuga’s business office, and the cross for St. Francis Chapel, which was made from the same tree as the cross for Camp Kanuga. “I came up with a design for the camp cross that was agreed upon and made a scaled down model for all to approve. I have the 30” high model hanging in my shop today.” When the cross was completed, a team of staff and volunteers, led by Sandy Lynch*, lifted the heavy cross and carried it along the lakeside path to place it in St. Andrew’s Chapel.

The cross is made of Locust, which grows on the property and is known for its long-lasting properties. Still, the elements can take a toll on a wooden cross, and in 2020 Larson came forward to support a restoration of the St. Andrew’s Chapel cross. The Kanuga property team worked with the original wood to return the cross to its natural beauty, and upfitted it with copper closures on the ends and a waterproof base to protect it from moisture. “In the restoration process, we had to remove a few feet from the bottom of the cross, which had been damaged beyond repair. To make sure that didn’t happen again, we concreted a pressure-treated post in the ground, then bolted the cross to it, so that the cross would maintain its original height. Bolting the cross to that post will prevent it from touching the ground or absorbing moisture,” says Dwayne Owens, property department manager.

On May 5, 2021, with great care and reverence, a team of Kanuga and Camp Kanuga staff hand-carried the newly restored cross back by the lakeside path and up “God’s Walk” to St. Andrew’s chapel. Among them was Camp Kanuga Program Director Elise Croak, whose maternal grandmother Mabel Brice was honored in the gift from Anne Larson. Restoring the cross to its camp home marks an important place in the generational legacy of Kanuga.

*Sandy Lynch 1948-2020, was Kanuga’s beloved vice president for property and worked at Kanuga for thirty-five years. An interment of ashes attended by close friends and family was held in his honor at Kanuga’s St. Francis Chapel on May 9, 2021.