Our Celtic Cross

Located strategically and displayed prominently in the center of our church property, our Celtic cross stands a majestic twelve (12) feet high and four (4) feet wide. Chosen for its historic and theological relevance, our Celtic cross joins our witness of faith to the 16th century reformed witness of Scotland, and the even earlier witness of 4th and 5th century monastic Celtic Christians. It reminds us that our witness is never alone, and that we are always dependent upon the witness of those who have gone before us in life.

The Presbyterian Chapel of the Lakes seeks to visibly emphasize our gospel witness to those who pass by our property by means of this Celtic Cross. Located in the heart of Steuben County's 101 lakes, the Chapel seeks to be "the heart of the lakes." And we do this, in part, through the ancient Celtic Christian witness to the sacred character of creation. Celtic Christians lived lives of prayer and monastic devotion, seeing God's grace in all aspects of the natural world. They erected tall memorial crosses, carved with intricate, abstract, pre-Christian designs of knot work, spirals, geometric patterns, and interlace, which were now sanctified to the glory of God.

As the Reformation swept through Europe and Scotland, its evangelical emphasis upon the preaching of the cross breathed new life into the gospel witness of these high crosses that dotted the landscape throughout the British Isles. These weathered and aged monuments, at that time over one thousand years old, now became identified as "the Presbyterian Cross." Immigrating one hundred years later to the shores of New England, the reformed witness spread throughout the American colonies and moved westward with the expanding nation.

Today this gospel witness survives here at the Presbyterian Chapel of the Lakes. Begun by visionary Presbyterians in the early 1970's, the Chapel offers a renewed understanding of God's grace and gospel to those who retire to the lakes or who visit in the summers. May we, like the Celtic Christians of old, seek to prayerfully witness to the spiritual realities of God's good creation. And may we, like the reformers of old, seek to lift high the cross of Christ and preach salvation by God's grace alone. May their ancient witness and ours abide and continue together as long as our Celtic Cross stands!