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Cross center of hope ministry

Cross center of hope ministry

Brookhaven has a new landmark near the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and Interstate 55 -- 150-foot cross erected by Easthaven Baptist Church for people seeking hope.


In explaining the project, Easthaven Pastor Hal Kitchings quotes  “1 Corinthians 1:18: ‘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.’


 “This is an opportunity to share hope, because that’s where our hope is found — in Christ. The structure will automatically bring encouragement and hope to Christians no matter what they’re going through, and will serve as a place for others to come for hope and encouragement.” 


The cross is illuminated by bright lights, and will eventually have a garden and benches around it.  “It will be a place for the community to come, where there are lights and other safeguards, to come reflect, pray and meditate, and read the Bible,” Kitchings says. 


When Kitchings came to Easthaven just a little more than a year ago, he says he cast “a mental picture of what could be fueled by a vision of what should be,” listing several ministry possibilities, including that of a cross like he had seen elsewhere.  People immediately bought into the idea and committed to help fund it.  The cross and the upcoming garden area will be completely funded by donations, including future maintenance. 


The 50-yard-tall white metal cross is being built by Mike Rozier Construction out of Hattiesburg, a company that has built several of these structures. Though similar crosses exist in other parts of Mississippi, this will be the first in the southern part of the state, and possibly the tallest to-date. A 120-foot-tall cross was erected in 2021 in the Delta on the campus of North Greenwood Baptist Church.


To critics who have questioned the church’s spending money and effort on a cross when there are people with other needs, Kitchings says the church is determined not to neglect other ministries for the sake of building the cross, but is adding the ministry of the cross to its other efforts. He points to Acts 1:8, Jesus’ command to be His witnesses at home first, then other parts of the world.  “We’ve always made a great commotion out of the Great Commission,” he says, referring to Jesus’ charge in the Gospel of Matthew to go into all the world making disciples and baptizing. “Missionary C.T. Studd said ‘The light that shines farthest shines brightest near home.’ This is not either/or -- it’s both/and.” 


Kitchings is excited about the anticipated results of this physical, very visible witness for the gospel of Jesus.  “I’m hopeful. I pray it will reach people we’ll never know this side of heaven.  But God knows.”



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