A commendation ceremony of the Church of the Cross was presented by Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and Louisiana Senator Ryan Gatti Monday afternoon at US Hwy. 80 in Haughton.
The aim of the Lieutenant Governor and Senator Gatti, was not only to commend the Church of the Cross for its evangelism, but also for their landmark status to the State of Louisiana.
Sen. Gatti said he felt moved to help facilitate with the commendation because he knows many lives have been touched by the monument, including one of his personal friends.
“I had a dear friend of mine that was struggling with depression and she said, ‘I just pulled off the interstate and asked Jesus to come into my heart, I asked God to save me.’ I asked where she did it, ‘Did you do it on the side of the road?’ and she said, ‘No, right by that cross.’”
Lt. Gov. Nungesser was on hand to designate the Cross a “True Louisiana Treasure.”
“We talk about creating a ‘Wow factor’ in Louisiana, this is a Wow Factor,” he said. “The church of the cross has inspired visitors from all over the country and the world to visit and enjoy all that Louisiana has to offer.”
Nungesser said he had seen the power of the local faith community earlier this year when he toured the area during catastrophic flooding.
“We’ve seen (the faith based groups across this state) go beyond the call of duty during these tough times in Louisiana. Pastor, I want to thank you and your church, and all the churches across Louisiana,” Nungesser said.
Pastor Harris said he was honored to receive the commendations.
“I’m thankful for the recognition the state has given to me, but it belongs to all the members and friends of this church, because without you we couldn’t have done anything the Lord has called us to do,” Harris said.
The Central Assembly of God – Church of the Cross began with 21 charter members on Aug. 10, 1961. It outgrew its facilities at 2101 US Hwy. 80, expanding to its current location at 700 US Hwy. 80 and shepherding more than 1,000 believers. The 199 ft. cross monument was erected in 2009.
“We’ve come a long way from (the church) that 20 years ago elected me pastor and I’ll always be indebted to that small group of 39 members that selected me to be pastor,” said Harris. “While the church has grown, our message hasn’t changed. Our message is still Jesus Christ, the Cross, and Him crucified.”