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Church gives away crosses to show support for Ukraine

Posted: June 24 2022 at 12:00 PM
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The welcome sign outside East Jordan UMC in Sterling, Ill., is stopping people in their tracks and inviting them to turn into the church’s parking lot. It reads, “Stop! Take a cross home. Christ is Risen.”

Small white wooden crosses dot the church’s front lawn and are free for anyone to take and place in their front yard in this rural community.

The Rev. Jim Miller says church members started building the crosses when Russia invaded Ukraine to offer a sign of prayer and hope.

“When the terrible atrocities began in Ukraine, we began a weekly prayer service every Wednesday evening,” said Miller. “East Jordan wants to stand in the gap for people. We are planting crosses because the people in Ukraine can’t.”

An attached plastic bag includes a note about the cross, a prayer for the people of Ukraine, and a brief story about a community effort in Frankenmuth, Mich., where residents rallied in response to an Atheist’s complaint about the Christian cross.

“We want to encourage people to pray with us for safety, care, love, and protection from the vicious killers of Ukrainian’s freedom and families,” said Miller. “We pray that our actions as Christians encourage others to join in.”

East Jordan’s Administrative Council Board Chair Kevin Deets, a woodworker, cuts the wood for the crosses and church members help assemble and paint them.

“They’ve evolved a little since we started,” Deets told local television station WQAD8. “The first ones were 10 inches tall, but we didn’t think it showed up in the yards enough, so we made them 16 inches tall and 10 inches wide. I’ve made the process pretty streamlined now so that I can cut a lot of them in a short amount of time.”

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Volunteers help put together and paint each cross inside church member Kevin Deets' woodworking shop. They've made more than 600 and plan to continue making more.

So far, Deets has made more than 650 crosses, and they’re trying to keep up with the demand as people are picking them up almost daily, and requests are coming from across the state.

“Which is kind of amazing for where we started from because we didn’t know if 100 would go,” Deets told WQAD’S reporters. “When I drive around, see one in a yard, I’m thinking I have a sense of pride because I help make that... It’s also that these people were willing to put this in their front yard and to show what it means to them.”

Miller says they will continue making the crosses until people stop taking them.

“It’s like feeding the hungry until hunger is gone,” said Miller. “We will continue to pray for people in peril, if it’s the people in Ukraine to the victims of the terrible shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The cross Jesus died on is a sign of hope in this world.”

East Jordan UMC, which received a 2022 One Matters Award, is located at 22027 Polo Rd., Sterling. Learn more at eastjordanchurch.org

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