By: Sid Riley
A little more beauty has been added to the Marianna skyline thanks to a beautiful new "Flame and Cross" which has been added to the First United Methodist Church steeple on Caledonia Street. This new feature includes a re-brightened gold colored dome, now highlighted by a meaningful white cross accompanied by a red flame, to symbolize the death of Christ on the cross and the Holy Spirit.
This new adornment for the church replaces the gold orb and cross that had adorned the steeple for over forty years. The previous steeple icon had been donated to the church by the family of Otto Reiff in his memory, but had become so weather and time worn that it had to be replaced. The Reiff family has historically financially supported many capital projects within this beautiful church for several generations. The Reiff family has been instrumental in the preservation and continuing beauty of this wonderful facility.
This new addition to the magnificent and historic church building was provided by a special capital improvement fund which has been working towards this project for over a year. The Board of Trustees, chaired by Ken Stoutamire is in charge of facility management within the church, and they appointed Trustee Jack Porterfield to be in charge of this particular project.
From information gathered in conversation with Mr. Porterfield, we found that the project involved replacing the original copper covering of the dome with new, brighter copper. The original copper was installed in 1918. The new dome has decorative jointing lines instead of the smooth surface of the previous dome. The white cross and scarlet flame is the traditional internationally recognized Methodist Church insignia. The new dome and icons are expected to endure for another fifty to one hundred years. A new shingled roof is also being simultaneously installed.
Thus, the Marianna skyline has a new feature. This new copper dome and the symbolic church insignia will undoubtedly highlight this historical structure for another hundred years.