Roadside crosses represent Christ’s sacrifice

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2004

WOODVILLE &045;&045; Years ago, a man approached Julius Carter’s father, Dave Carter, and asked permission to place three tall crosses on his property flanking U. S. 61 between Woodville and Natchez.

&uot;My father was a Christian man, and he just accepted it. There was no payment or anything,&uot; Julius said.

Symbolizing Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, the cluster of crosses was one of 2,072 sets planted along roadsides in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Zambia and the Philippines by the Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer.

Email newsletter signup

Coffindaffer said in 1984 he received a vision from the Holy Spirit instructing him to erect the crosses.

He then liquidated his West Virginia coal-washing business and spent $3 million over the next nine years, constructing and placing the crosses with help from volunteers through a non-profit group called Crosses of Mercy.

Coffindaffer died in 1993 shortly after spending his entire wealth on his calling. But his work is still evident, especially in the eastern United States. The cluster on the Carter property is one of 158 cross sites on roadways in Mississippi.

&uot;That’s the second set we’ve had here. The first set rotted down and had to be replaced,&uot; Julius said.

But travelers soon won’t have to drive far anywhere in America to be reminded of Christ’s sacrifice, thanks to another group of volunteers carrying on Coffindaffer’s work.

Crosses Across America, a Vicksburg-based non-profit organization, is currently painting and restoring the existing cross sites. When that work is done, the group plans to place new clusters at 25-mile intervals along the nation’s entire interstate highway system.

Crosses Across America is headed by Vicksburg resident Sara Abraham, who picked up Coffindaffer’s work after receiving a vision of her own in 1999.

&uot;I’m not usually one to save newspaper articles. But I clipped out an article about Rev. Coffindaffer’s death and saved it in my Bible,&uot; Abraham said.

Years later, the clipping fell out of the Bible. Abraham said she received her calling when she stooped to pick it up. &uot;The Lord spoke to me and said ‘You will continue the crosses,’&uot; she said.

Abraham’s husband donated office space and equipment. The interdenominational group welcomes volunteers.

&uot;We’re approaching the construction phase. The new crosses will be made of fiberglass, the same size and color,&uot; Abraham said.

The sets are arranged with a gold cross in the center and blue crosses on either side. The gold represents royalty, and the blue signifies the earth.

For more information, call (601) 619-0169 or log onto