On Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 a.m., as Executive Pastor Steve Robertson and Senior Pastor Robert Hasley at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano were entering the building to prepare for Sunday services, they were not prepared for the amazing gift they would find.
As they walked closer to the building, they saw a beautiful wooden cross with a red ribbon and a note attached, leaning against the brick wall at the entrance. They couldn’t begin to imagine the special significance the cross would have as they began to read the note signed only “Matthew.”
More than 20 years ago when St. Andrew was newly beginning and expanding, a wooded cross was placed out by the pond on the north side of the church. As time went by, a new stone cross was added along with benches to this serene reflecting area, and heavy construction continued with the addition of the Youth Commons Building.
“No one is exactly sure what happened to the original wooden cross placed by the pond,” Senior Pastor Robert Hasley added. “We can only imagine that as that area was utilized for construction equipment and materials, it was covered and hidden from sight. With the recent addition and construction of our new columbarium, the cross became uncovered and was found by this kind and faithful friend of St. Andrew.
According to the note attached to the cross, “Matthew” talked of growing up in the neighborhood and coming often to the pond to talk to God. The pond was a special place for him, and he remembered the old wooden cross. Last summer on a visit to the pond, he saw it lying on the ground at the new parking lot construction site with its left arm severed. As he explained in his note, the cross was beaten by the 20 years from the elements, its wood was weathered and pieces were loose.
“I took it upon myself to restore it and attempt to make it beautiful once more,” Matthew said in the note. “After re-attaching the arm, sanding down the weathered wood, I stained the wood and added a gloss protectant. The cross had enough of a beating outside, so I turned it into an indoor piece. I trust that you will find a nice place in your church to put what is yours. I also hope that the cross can serve as a reminder for all your past accomplishments as well as failures as both are equally important. They have shaped the community that you are today and can influence what is yet to come. You have built a wonderful congregation, and I know that God is looking down smiling in all that you have constructed for His glory.”
Senior Pastor Robert Hasley brought the cross into the sanctuary that morning and read the letter to the congregation.
“We are deeply moved by this faithful man’s spirit, caring heart, and generosity, giving the church such a very special gift this Christmas,” Rev. Hasley added. “The cross will now have a permanent home in our festival hall to be admired by all. Matthew, if you are reading this, we would love to meet you one day and express our sincere appreciation in person. Thank you for such a priceless gift – an important part of history to the St. Andrew family. It is because of people such as you that the St. Andrew community has become the caring, dynamic, and spiritual community it is today. We are glad the pond has been an important part of your spiritual life over the years, and want you to know you have blessed us all in ways today that cannot be put into words. On behalf of the church, staff and congregation, Merry Christmas and may God bless you always.”