If motorists on Interstate 75 want a heavenly vision, all they have to do is look to the side of the road. Rising dramatically out of the earth at Solid Rock Church, a 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus gazes toward the heavens with hands open, thrusting high. The visually stunning sight of what's billed as America's largest Jesus statue soon will draw more attention to Monroe, as church officials prepare to light up the six-story-tall religious figure each night.

Since its construction in August, the giant Messiah has become a nationally noted roadside attraction. Newspapers, magazines and travel Web sites have featured it, including one that dubbed it "SuperSavior." It's also turned one of Greater Cincinnati's largest churches - about 4,000 regularly flock to the nondenominational evangelical church in Warren County - into something of a tourist attraction.

"I didn't know it would get this much national attention," Solid Rock Pastor Lawrence Bishop said. "We weren't trying to impress people, we were just trying to help people."

Some locals have grumbled about tackiness or a highway hazard from gawking motorists, but others welcome the spiritual icon and the attention it draws.


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