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A 120-foot tall cross will be erected later this year on the campus of Cairo’s Family Worship Center on U.S. Highway 84 West.
The church sought and received approval for a zoning variance from the Cairo Planning Commission last month in order to be able to construct the cross at the west end of the church property.
Under the City of Cairo zoning ordinance, the height of structures in a C-1 zone is limited to 45 feet and the cross the church plans to have erected is nearly three times that height.
Family Worship Center Pastor Johnny Moore appeared before the Planning Commission on May 20 to make the pitch for the church’s variance request.
Only Planning Commission Vice Chairman James Gerth opposed approval of the variance citing the precedent that would be set that could lead to the commission having to grant variances for other religious symbols. Gerth also questioned if the $200,000 the church planned to spend on the cross project might be better spent in other ways to help those less fortunate in the community.
Pastor Moore said that building a large cross as a landmark has been a dream of his since F.W.C. moved to their current location on U.S. Highway 84 West in 2010.
Moore said the church erected a small cross with a “dim” light, and received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community.
“People always commented that they liked the cross on the property,” the church pastor said.
Moore got the idea for the large cross after seeing a similar one near Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga. He says it was “breathtaking” when he say it.
The Rock Springs Church staff connected Pastor Moore with contractor Mike Rozier Construction of Greenwood, Mississippi, which built the cross in Milner.
Rozier told The Messenger this week that he began building crosses around the United States approximately seven years ago. Currently there is only the one cross in Georgia, the one located at Milner, but Rozier has built six in Mississippi and one in Louisiana to-date.
The cross will be 60-feet wide in addition to being 120-feet tall and will have an eight-foot diameter base. The cross will be lighted at night and will be the centerpiece of what Pastor Moore call the church’s “cross fit” project.
In addition to the cross, plans are to construct a quarter-mile walking track, a 24-hour Prayer Station, picnic tables, and cross fit workout stations.
“We cast the vision for the cross fit project for our Annual Jesus Birthday Offering in December 2020. Since December, we have received enough money for the cross. We need a little more to complete the entire cross fit project, including the track, but we are confident that we will have it in hand by the time we finish the cross and are ready to start on the track,” Pastor Moore said this week.
The initial goal for the project is $200,000 and Moore says that as of this week over half has been given. “By October, we fully expect to have more than enough to complete the entire project,” the pastor added.
Pastor Moore and Rozier said they anticipate the work on the cross beginning in September. According to Rozier, it will only take seven working days to build the cross, which is engineered by Cornerstone Engineering of Maryville, Tennessee.
Assisting Rozier will be James Merritt of Merritt Mechanical Fabrication of Grady County. According to Pastor Moore, he met last month with Rozier and Merritt on the five acre section of the church campus where the “cross-fit” project will be constructed.
“This is something that will be open to the entire community. It will be a place where people would hold prayer vigils or just to come and pray,” Moore said.
Pastor Moore says that according to state data, more than 12,000 vehicles pass the Family Worship Center campus daily. “There’s something about the cross that brings people hope. This will be a great landmark to have in our community,” Pastor Moore said.
The local pastor said he anticipates a “big cross raising” ceremony to be held in October.
For more information about FWC’s cross fit project or to donate, call (229) 377-8746 or go to fwc.tv/give.