120-foot-tall cross with crown of thorns erected in Batesville

BATESVILLE, Miss. – A 120-foot-tall cross topped with a crown of thorns went up in Batesville Tuesday, and it’s getting a lot of attention from passing motorists.

The cross, which sits on donated land off I-55 near Walmart, weighs about 48,000 pounds and had to be hoisted into its upright position by a crane.

“I wanted to check it out,” said John Mothershed, one of many who stopped to see the colossal cross. “It’s gonna be great. It’s gonna glorify God.”

The cross is the end result of nearly two years of planning and more than $200,000 worth of fundraising.

“We’ve gotten money all the way from Poland,” said Batesville resident Carol Anne Lightsey.

Lightsey spearheaded the cross construction project, which she said was inspired by two similar crosses she saw in Tennessee.

“He died on that cross to be raised again and he did it out of love, and that’s what we hope people see when they come down the interstate,” said Mike Rozier, who volunteered the services of his business, Mike Rozier Construction Company, to build the cross.

At night, Lightsey said the cross will be illuminated by six LED lights.

Inside each of the thorns that make up the crown, Lightsey said community members wrote their own messages.

“We wrote everything in there, so everybody’s covered in those thorns before they were welded on,” she said.

Even at the equivalent of about 12 stories, the Batesville cross still falls short of the tallest cross at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis.

A spokesman for the church said that one stands 150 tall – a whole 30 feet taller.

But for Lightsey and others in Batesville, none of that matters.

“When we get through, it’ll be a place to come. It’ll have benches,” she said.

And most importantly, it’ll have Christ’s spirit.

Lightsey said an official dedication ceremony will most likely take place later this week.