HAZARD—The power of the cross is what one man said is moving people in a Perry County Christian group, the Cross Ministries, to ensure that every child in the area is exposed to that power.
Chad Campbell, a deacon at Living Waters Full Gospel Church in Hazard, began putting up 20-foot tall, illuminated crosses near the entrances to schools in the county in August. He said he and a close friend of his decided to start the initiative in August after experiencing a phenomenal moment with what he said was a sign from God.
Campbell said he has an illuminated cross set up on his land along Route 7.
“It started right there, and a friend of mine, he came up and we were doing some maintenance on the cross. We were talking about how powerful it is at night when it’s shining and people come by and see it,” Campbell explained.
While they were checking on the cross, Campbell told his friend that he would like to be able to have the same kind of cross at the entrance to every school in the county so that more people could experience the powerful sight of it at night and maybe intrigue any students to ask questions about the cross and Christianity in general.
“When I said those words, a dove come and lit on the power line beside of us, and we was kindly moved by that,” Campbell said. “It could have been any kind of bird, but it wasn’t, it was a dove and a dove is the representation of the Holy Spirit.”
Campbell said at the time he was not sure what to do with this sign, however, after seeing the dove in the same place the next day he and his friend knew they had to move forward with this idea.
“We began to talk about doing this, really setting it in our heart to try to achieve putting a cross at these schools,” he said.
One of the first schools they started with was Perry Central High School, Campbell said, which seemed to be an uphill battle. After members of the group suffered from setbacks including a broken leg, pneumonia, and back problems, Campbell said they were finally able to find private land that they would be allowed to set the cross up on.
“It takes about $800 to put one of those crosses up and to light it,” Campbell said, adding that the reoccurring cost of keeping it lit and maintaining it in case of damage is around $1 per day.
Campbell said there are many people in the community who are stepping up to help with the costs as word spreads of the group. Crosses have also been put up at Leatherwood and Viper elementary schools, with plans for A.B. Combs and R.W. Combs elementary schools in the works.
“What we’re trying to do as we get more people getting involved in the Cross Ministries, we’re trying to get churches to support these crosses and pray for the children in these schools that these crosses represent,” he said. “I believe in prayer. I believe there’s a great power in prayer.”
Campbell said he hopes that seeing the crosses will expose children to Christianity, which he believes has been wrongfully thrown out of the schools.
“They’ve took the Commandments out of the schools, so therefore for the creation of mankind pretty much all they’re hearing tight now, from my understanding, is evolution and reincarnation and things of this sort,” he said. “I figured, if we could set the cross there that it would bring back the power that the Commandments had in the schools.”