Local church providing ways for community to show support of Elizabethton’s three crosses

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

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A local church has launched a “cross crusade” in answer to efforts from a national group to remove the iconic crosses atop Lynn Mountain in Elizabethton.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has hundreds of members and a chapter in Tennessee, has asked Elizabethton to remove crosses and a Christian banner from the top of the mountain.
“Our concern remains that the city of Elizabethton is maintaining an unconstitutional religious display on city property,” FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman wrote to Elizabethton City Attorney Roger G. Day. The city has not made any effort to remove the crosses, and the push has sparked a public outpouring of support for the crosses that were erected in the 1950s.
“After hearing the news about this group wanting to take down the crosses in Elizabethton, Doug Hartley, the pastor here at Hunter Memorial, wanted to do something he coined as a cross crusade,” said Drew Broome, youth minister at Hunter Memorial Baptist Church. “We are starting to build crosses that will be free for the community to come pick up as a way to petition what is going on.
“We are actually hoping to have some that are ready for pickup as soon as Wednesday, but even after that we are gonna continue to build them and reach out to other churches in the area for their support,” Broome said.
Broome said the crosses that Hunter Memorial Baptist will build will be about four feet tall.
“Our goal is to get these crosses out into people’s yards and for people to share pictures of these crosses as a way of saying instead of having less crosses in Elizabethton, we want more. We hope to quite literally have thousands of these crosses up around the city,” Broome said.
And while the crosses serve as a way to show support of keeping the ones atop Lynn Mountain, Broome said the cross crusade also serves a deeper message.
“Obviously many people have gotten fired up over this controversy, with the recent protests, which is great. But what I would love to see is people praying for this change to not take place and to show God’s love while showing their support for these symbols of hope to remain in the community,” Broome said.
Broome said that he would love to see not only crosses in someone’s yard, but for people to place their focus back on the cross.
Crosses will be available for pickup as early as later this week, and those with any questions or who would like to help out with the process can reach out to Broome at (423) 440-0238 or Hartley at (423) 291-9004.

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