Livingston crosses to be raised in honor of friend

Published 1:05 am Saturday, October 10, 2009

Longtime Livingston residents Gary and TyAnne Stone will honor their lifelong friends, the Jimmy Luft family, by erecting three crosses on their property on Saturday, Oct. 17. The crosses will be located between Mile Markers 21 and 22 on U.S. Highway 11 north of Livingston. The center cross will be 22 feet in height.

Leonard James “Jimmy” Luft passed away on July 19 at his home in Raymond, Miss.  Jimmy was owner of Luft Electric, Inc., and was a team member of Crosses Across America, an active supporter of St. Jude’s. He was also the president of the Andrew Jackson Counsel of Boy Scouts of America, a member of Carpenters for Christ and chairman of the Wynndale Baptist Church Building Committee, where he also served as a Sunday school teacher.

The roadside crosses are a reminder of the three Christian R’s: Rejection, as the thief on the left cross rejected Christ; Reception, as the thief on the right cross received Christ; and Redemption, as Christ and the center cross provided us with salvation through the shedding of His blood.

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The crosses are being raised through Crosses Across America Inc., an organization founded to continue the ministry of the roadside crosses by the late Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer.

Coffindaffer began the erection of the clusters of crosses in September 1984. Approximately 2,000 crosses have been built in America, Zambia and the Philippines. The project ended with his death on Oct. 8, 1993.

Crosses Across America, Inc., is an IRS certified and approved 501(c)(3) organization. It has completed the one-year waiting period and applied for acceptance into the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a firm that audits ministries.

“We believe that those who drive by the crosses will reflect upon their personal walk with Christ,” said Gary Stone.

Fourteen members of Crosses Across America representing Wynndale Baptist Church of Terry, Miss., will erect the crosses: Buddy Blockwell, Richard Fain, Donald Gynes, Mike Hartzog, Mike Hedglin, Robert Jordan, Gerald Keyes, Wally Martin, George Morgan, David Penson, Chuck Slay, John Stigall, Gary Thomas and Richard White. Brian Dykes and Cheyne Robinson, Jimmy Luft’s sons-in-laws, plan to attend.

After the crosses are erected, a brief memorial service will be held. The public is invited to the cross dedication service to occur Oct. 17 at about 10:30 a.m.