A Wisconsin church has built a 60-foot high cross on its property in an effort to make its surrounding community more "Christ-conscious," and perhaps help win the culture war, says the church's pastor.
"If the enemies of the cross force a cross to be removed from the public park, then maybe a church should put up a 60' or 100' cross on their property," Michael Jackson, lead pastor of New Life Assembly of God in Janesville, told The Christian Post. He said a big part of his church's decision to build the cross was the "culture war" against religious symbols on public property in America.
"Maybe several churches should go together and erect a large cross on some agreed on-church site. This is not a war that we sought, but it is a war that the church can and will win," Jackson said.
The gigantic symbol of faith, which includes a heavy steel pipe skeleton, weighs approximately 25,000 pounds, and should be able to endure winds in excess of 90 miles per hour, according to the church. The project, known as New Life Cross, is in its first phase.
"Phase one is the cross and the immediate area surrounding the cross," Jackson said. "This phase will include a large concrete patio, twelve benches, music, lights shining up on the cross, and a great deal of greenery … Phase one should be complete within two weeks. Phase two centers on a 4,000 square-foot park pavilion. It will be complete with restrooms. The pavilion will be adjacent to the cross and connected by way of a sidewalk. It too will be surrounded by lots of greenery."
According to Jackson, while phase one alone will cost $60,000, the congregation has already raised more than $100,000 for both phases, and has covered the cost of phase one in seven weeks.
"I find it interesting that the cross project has not been a drag on the church financially. Our tithes and offerings are up by better than $25,000 over last year at this time," said Jackson. "We still are able to operate our food pantry and other outreaches to the poor and to missions. The cross project seems to have lifted all of the income streams to the church."
The New Life Cross has garnered its share of attention from neighbors and local media. According to the Janesville Gazette, far from being in the middle of nowhere, the cross will hover over Interstate 90/39, two shopping plazas, and a residential neighborhood.
New Life Assembly contracted Jim Potter, a minister who has overseen the construction of large crosses elsewhere in the United States. Potter wrote about his vision regarding cross displays, "How to Build a Beautiful Large Cross," available on the website www.necklacecrosses.com.
"I am 70 years old. My future plans, the Lord willing, are to encourage people all over the world to build these crosses. I would like to see them built on every continent and will assist with blueprints, suppliers, and consultation," said Potter.