Stay Near the CROSS
This wooden cross was introduced to me at First English Lutheran Church, Appleton, Wisconsin in 1991. Pastor Chris Quello had ordered the crosses after he received a letter from a new mission congregation Shepherd of the Mountain’s Lutheran Church in Jackson, Wyoming. The church was raising money to help finance the construction of a new building. I was impressed with this idea and captivated by the fact that each cross is unique. The oak wood for the cross comes from the Grand Teton area in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The oak wood grain in each cross has a different pattern.
I started to wear the cross at every worship service and it gave me a good feeling. At that point, I attached a second cross to the mirror in my car. I wear my cross at bible studies, during Christmas and Lent, and at funeral visitations for individuals who were identified as Christian. I wear my cross when I go to my oncologist’s office for a CAT scan report. I wear my cross when I travel. I put a cross on my Christmas tree.
I wear my cross at Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity home dedications if a bible and crosses are given to the Habitat family. Since 1995, I have attended 208 of the 218 GFCAHFH home dedications. After listening to the inspirational Christmas message in December 2016 of Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, I now gift an additional cross to the Habitat families for them to place on their Christmas tree.
In loving memory of Donna Barnum, I gifted crosses to members of First English Lutheran Church. This was part of the celebration of its 100th anniversary in 2016. Although I was blessed with loving parents, religion was not part of my upbringing. My dear beloved wife was the person who changed my life and brought me to Christian faith.
In May of 2015, a news story reported by the Pew Research Center determined people describing themselves as Christians fell from 78.4% to 70.6% in the last seven years. This alarmed and inspired me to change this very disturbing trend. The cross I wear motivated me to begin my faith journey of Stay Near the CROSS®. What you see now in the Stay Near the CROSS® website is my proposal to end the decline of the Christian faith.
Please pray with me and share this critically important faith journey.
Thank you. Blessings and Peace.
In His Name,