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Nation’s largest sculpture based on Jacob’s Dream to be dedicated Sept. 9 at ACU

Angels will climb Jacob’s ladder toward heaven Sept. 9 at Abilene Christian University when the university dedicates a towering, 32-foot “Jacob’s Dream” sculpture as part of the finale of a yearlong Centennial Celebration.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled at 1 p.m. on the lawn southeast of the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building.

The sculpture, created by Dr. Jack Maxwell, will be surrounded by large stones inscribed with words from Scripture meant to inspire prayer and meditation.  Maxwell is chair of ACU’s Department of Art and Design.

“The entire area is designed to encourage physical, mental and spiritual interaction as visitors explore the site from various perspectives,” Maxwell said. “As an artist, my intention was to create a place that stirs the heart and the soul.”

ACU officials believe the sculpture is the tallest such piece depicting Jacob’s dream from Genesis 28 – and possibly the largest sculpture illustrating a passage from the Bible.

“Jack has done a marvelous job designing this sculpture and the park-like space surrounding it,” said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president.  “This distinctive artwork will be a focal point on our campus for classes, devotionals and private times of meditation, and I believe it will attract guests to ACU from across the community, state and nation.”

The sculpture features four bronze angels climbing a ladder toward heaven, illustrating the biblical account of Jacob’s dream. The artwork was commissioned and given in memory of Grace L. Woodward.
Bob Woodward, Grace’s son, started the Grace L. Woodward Memorial Endowment Trust in 1998 in honor of his mother, who died in 1997.  The $26.5 million gift was dedicated to ACU’s College of Biblical Studies to further the cause of Christ through ACU.  This gift is the largest single gift in ACU’s history, Money said.

“Grace Woodward lived the life of a humble Christian servant,” said Money. “This monument was designed as a tribute to her dream and a way to honor her generosity.”

The area surrounding the sculpture will include approximately 30 weathered stones for seating, a baptismal pool, a narrow passage in the shape of a cross, and scriptures engraved into the stones.

Each aspect of the sculpture and surrounding area has symbolic meaning and purpose.  The four angels represent the four corners, four regions or four directions of the earth, Maxwell said, signifying the limitless reach of God.  The three intertwined circles near the sculpture represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The basic elements of creation present in the area – water, rock and plants – speak to the nature of God, His Son and His promises.

“It is my hope and prayer that this will be a place of meditation and worship, a place where new births in Christ might occur, hearts might be renewed, and above all else, where the God above all gods might be glorified,” Maxwell said.



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