(Photo: Faith Community Church)
A church in Indiana is working to keep a cross on public property near a major road in its current place after their town council decided that it should be moved.
Faith Community Church of Dugger wants to keep a 26-foot tall cross on the property adjacent the Indiana 54 road. Marla Farris, wife of Faith Community Senior Pastor Shawn Farris, told The Christian Post that the cross was erected in 2010 and is meant to be a symbol of hope.
"The cross was built and erected in 2010. Lewis Bonham and Charlie Hay, a couple of men from our church had the idea and Lewis Bonham built the cross," said Farris.
"It was built with the intention to give hope to everyone who drove by it and to let them know the message that Jesus saves. Since the cross was erected, we have had donations from all the churches in our town to go toward the upkeep of the cross. It has been a community effort."
Back in 2010, the Dugger Town Council had given Faith Community permission to post the cross, which includes the statement "Jesus Saves" on its beams, on the public property near Indiana 54.
Since then, an election has taken place and new members comprise the council. The council unanimously agreed at a meeting on Monday that Faith Community should have the cross moved to another location.
The council addressed the issue in response to a letter sent by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who argued that the cross was an unlawful government endorsement of Christianity.
"The town does not have enough money to fight a legal battle over that cross out there … My opinion is that we should ask them to remove it," said council President Dwight Nielson, as reported by local media.
"It is our intention to try to keep the cross in its current location," said Farris to CP. "We are looking into possibly purchasing the property on which it stands."
"As far as separation of church and state … we believe that this group is twisting the original intent of separation of church and state … It was intended originally to protect the churches from being persecuted. However, this group it trying to do exactly the opposite by persecuting the church."
In its decision, the Dugger Town Council gave Faith Community Church a couple months to remove the cross from its location. Given that the base of the cross includes six yards of concrete, it is expected to be a labor intensive task.