A towering 120-foot tall and 64-foot-wide aluminum and steel cross to welcome travelers on Highway 45 is in the early planning stages for Monroe County.
After visiting Christ’s Cross at The Crossroads in Winona with his wife, Betty, former sheriff and public service commissioner Bo Robinson of Lackey started the idea of having such a cross locally.
“I said, ‘I’m going to build that cross.’ She said, ‘Have you lost your mind?,’” he said. “I had thoughts of putting it at the [Hamilton] Methodist church but I had no idea what I was thinking as large as it was.”
Similar crosses are located in Batesville, Taylorsville, Ripley, Eupora and Booneville, and another is in the planning stages for Starkville. Mike Rozier Construction of Greenwood has worked toward constructing crosses.
After experiencing health issues, Robinson asked Evelyn Thompson of Hamilton to help with the local effort.
“We’ve gotten good feedback,” she said. “The main thing people have said is it’s a wonderful thing for our county to do and what a great symbol of our faith in the county. We know we’re a Christian community, but this will be a symbol of what we stand for.
“Another thing Bo and I feel so strongly about is protecting our conservative Christian values in this county. We have so many residents here that truly believe that our country is going the wrong way. This, more than any time in our lives, is a time for us to stand up and be counted.”
The estimated cost for the project is $200,000 to $250,000. Thompson and Robinson are also looking to locate an acre of land alongside Highway 45 somewhere between the Lowndes and Lee county lines for the cross.
“This is a symbol for everyone who passes through our county to say, ‘This county believes,’ and that’s the main motivation in trying to do it,” Thompson said.
They’re working on gathering a list of all the churches in Monroe County, and the goal is for each one to send one or two representatives to a countywide meeting, which will be announced at a later date.
“We’ll basically be asking each church if they’d commit to raising money in their church. We know it’s got to come from our Christian families,” Thompson said.
Thompson asked for people to consider the project as a recipient of memorials.
“Most people, it’s taken them over a year to raise the funds because it’s a lot of funds to raise. We don’t have a timeline; it’s just going to be what the Lord lays on people’s hearts to do,” Thompson said. “Every penny will be important.”
Along the way, there will also be opportunities for volunteering and in-kind services.
In addition to the cross, there are plans for benches and landscaping on and around the 60-foot-by-60-foot concrete base. Thompson noted there is an information station at Eupora’s cross including Bibles and inspirational literature.
She hopes to involve more youth in the Cross of Monroe County project.
For more information on how to support it, call Thompson at 369-0836 or Like Cross of Christ – Monroe County on Facebook.
She added prayer is going to be one of the keys to the project’s success.
“We have the desire to do it. We just need people willing to do this. The Lord wants us to be more of disciples. This, perhaps, could be the way to reach the unchurched,” Thompson said.