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Raising of 'Unbelievably Magnificent' Cross Was Such a Sight That it Backed Up Interstate Traffic

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An enormous cross has been erected in Northern Alabama on top of Priceville Mountain, fulfilling a dream of a local pastor who has several other plans for the land.

The approximately 121-foot-tall, 47,000-pound cross can be seen over 18 miles away by drivers heading south on Interstate 65 after passing the Tennessee River Bridge in Morgan County, according to Priceville news outlet WAFF-TV.

When construction finished Thursday, drivers on the interstate stopped to take in the sight.

Al.com estimated that more than 200 people parked on the side of the road and watched as the cross was being lifted.

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“This is one of the highlights of my life,” local reverend James Henderson, who lives just a mile away from the cross, told WAFF. “As a little boy growing up on a dirt road with no electricity or water, I never expected I’d ever see such a beautiful sight.”

Johnny Maxwell, who pastors Nature’s Trail Church, said God gave him the dream to build the cross close to 20 years ago.

“Watching the materials come in, I felt every emotion you could contemplate. It was not really a relief, but more of a praise feeling that God came through again,” Maxwell told the Hartselle Enquirer.

Should there be more crosses like this around the country?

He also suggested that the number of people witnessing the lifting of the cross was far larger than the 200 people reported.

“This town of 2,000 probably had 4,000 people there. The interstate and the state highway were backed up. People were standing shoulder to shoulder. It was unreal,” Maxwell told the Enquirer. “When you watch this unbelievably magnificent cross go up in the sky and hear the prayer prayed over it, it’s very moving.”

Overall, the cross will cost an estimated $300,000. Its completion was due in part to a donation of $50,000 worth of electrical and lighting materials from an electrical contractor, the Enquirer reported.

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Online, though, not everyone embraced the monument and many complained that the funds weren’t used in a more useful way.

“$300K to build a giant cross could have instead delivered 105,000 meals to homeless individuals. 3,500 homeless in Alabama on any day,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“This church could have given every homeless person in Alabama dinner for a month. But I’m sure god’s vision was for the 120’ cross,” they said.

Others also suggested that the money could have instead been used to pay off medical bills, which is what one North Carolina church did last month when they purchased and forgave nearly $3 million in medical debts.

However, Maxwell’s plan is not simply to build a cross alone. He explained that this was only phase one of his plan.

The next phase will be to create a dozen outdoor prayer stations, which represent the 12 tribes of Israel. After that, he plans to use the land to build a housing community for single mothers.

“The plan,” Maxwell said, “is to give them a head start with education and childcare while they go to school and get their feet on the ground.”

The project still requires funding though, and those interested in donating to the cause were encouraged to do so either online at thecrossofnorthalabama.com or at the Priceville Traditions Bank.

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