Texas Pastor Dreams of the Tallest Cross

Rick Milby has visions of a cross 230 feet tall. It will rise up higher than the nearby Abundant Life Fellowship Church, where Milby was the pastor for more than 30 years. If the church had a steeple, it would rise higher than that too. It will rise above the nearby houses, trees, and factories on the flat Texas landscape, visible from the cars speeding by on Interstate 37. It will rise so high up off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico that airplanes will have to fly around it.

The Corpus Christi cross was supposed to be finished this summer, before funding delays set back the completion date. When it’s finished, though, it will be the seventh structure to claim the title of “tallest cross in America” in the past 30 years.

Milby thinks it’s pretty obvious why someone would want to build the tallest cross in the country. “We’re hoping to convert people and encourage Christians,” Milby told Christianity Today. “People will come from all around to see it, and we’ll baptize them that day.”

Also, things have a way of escalating. Milby’s cross, for example, wasn’t first conceived as the largest in the country. It was just gong to be a large cross.

He was taking the church staff on a retreat in Galveston, and they drove by a cross. The idea grabbed Milby and, after the retreat, the church staff looked into the possibility of constructing their own. They found they’d have to get special permission from the Federal Aviation Administration.

They wrote to request a variance and were told they could receive permission for a cross up to 230 feet. That was 40 feet taller than the “Titanic Texas Tribute” cross in Groom, Texas, and 32 feet taller than the Effingham, Illinois, cross that Roadside America calls “America’s largest cross.” It was 16 feet taller than the cross in Branson, Missouri, which was still under construction at the time.

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Source: Christianity Today