The landscape of a small town in Mississippi is scheduled to change by the end of this week.
The Clarion-Ledger reports the construction of a giant cross in Florence, Mississippi, standing around 110 feet tall and weighing over 18 tons, will be finished at the week’s end. A celebration event dedicated to the cross’s completion will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Carroll Berry, the owner of Berry’s Seafood and Catfish House in Florence, Mississippi, said he partnered with a nonprofit organization called Crosses Over America, a group dedicated to building religious structures across the country, to have the cross in the city limits.
“(The purpose of the crosses is) to remind the Christian of what Jesus did for them on Calvary and to reap the unsaved to let them know there is hope, peace and salvation in Jesus Christ," said Sara Abraham, a representative from Crosses Over America.
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Originally, the group wanted to build a structure in Brandon — a neighboring town. However, Berry said he wanted to have the cross closer to home when he heard Brandon officials voted against the cross.
"When I heard the story, it just touched my heart and I got in touch with Sara Abraham over Crosses Over America," Berry said. "It was being obedient to God."
Abraham said the cross in Florence, the largest structure built by the group, may be seen by 28 million people every year.
Berry said the cross will cost around $170,000. He added he paid over $85,000 for construction costs and has reached out to community members to help pay for the remaining $85,000.
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Florence city officials said they have received mostly positive feedback about the cross.
"Back at the time when we were making the decision and the city attorney was working on the ordinance to see if we'd be able to have it, we had people call us and they said, 'Please, let the cross come,'" said Florence mayor Pam Clark. "I think the whole city is really excited about it."