You’ve most likely seen them before — the white, towering crosses dotted along highways that run through Batesville, Eupora, Winona and other places in Mississippi.
With some financial assistance from the Greenwood community, a nonprofit is hoping to erect a giant white cross west of town.
The mission of the project, known as Delta Cross, is to install a 120-foot steel cross on a 1.33-acre plot of land located northwest of the U.S. 82 and U.S. 49 intersection, just past Walmart.
The project was first spearheaded by Dr. Jim Phillips of North Greenwood Baptist Church.
Over the summer, Phillips posted pictures and videos of the giant cross in Eupora on his Facebook page. In response, some people asked why a cross couldn’t be set up in Greenwood.
“I basically began to put some feelers out to some people with some interest in this,” said Phillips, who also reached out to leaders behind the teams that erected the crosses in Batesville, Eupora and Winona.
Phillips created a 501(c)(3) nonprofit at the beginning of September to facilitate the project.
Phillips is the president of the nonprofit’s five-person board, which also includes Paula Provine, Debbie Oxnam, the Rev. Calvin Collins of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Michael Lindsey, all of whom are Greenwood residents.
Collins said the project is “across the faith community,” — nondenominational and not attached to a particular church.
Similar to the welcoming signs that dub Greenwood the “Cotton Capital of the World,” the cross says, “Welcome to Greenwood. The faith community is viable in our community.”
Provine said, “To me, the cross represents the means by which atonement was made between God and humanity. It’s a symbol of hope.”
She then quoted 1 Corinthians 1:18 to explain the significance of the cross: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
“Delta Cross is to create a visible witness of the Christian faith to all who pass by the cross,” Provine said.
According to Mississippi Department of Transportation’s traffic count, the intersection of U.S. 82 and U.S. 49 had an average daily traffic count of 16,000 motorists in 2018.
Phillips said that he’s hoping the Greenwood cross will be a site of worship, enabling passersby to have a “Jesus moment.”
The estimated cost of the project — which includes the cross itself, a parking lot and electronic security — is about $200,000, Phillips said. About $20,000 has already been raised.
Phillips said Mike Rozier Construction would cover the material and labor costs for the project.
Dale Pillow and Walter Pillow Sr., with approval from the rest of the Pillow family, donated the land, Phillips said.
The property deed was signed on Wednesday. Phillips said the nonprofit has two years to make the cross a reality; otherwise the property will be given back to the Pillow family.
He added that other people and organizations have offered to contribute “sweat equity” to the project.
Anticipating naysayers who may counter that $200,000 could be put to better use, Phillips said, “My immediate answer to that is anything done for God’s glory, God has the capacity to fund it.”
He added that there are people who enjoy seeing a tangible, physical presence of God’s work.
For more information, people can check out Delta Cross’ page on Facebook. Tax-deductible donations may be mailed to North Greenwood Baptist Church at 615 Grand Blvd.
Phillips also said that at the end of the year those interested can donate their stock options to Delta Cross through the Greenwood office of Edward Jones Investments.
•Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.