Grace Community Church and the Giant Crosses on I-45

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The two “Marking Our City” billboards near Grace Community Church‘s north and south I-45 locations depict a plain white cross, an American flag, and the words “150 FT CROSS COMING SOON.” But they probably show only the top portion of the structures the church is planning — and the 150-ft. label may be selling the project short. The Chronicle‘s Lisa Gray says

. . . the pastor hopes both structures will be 200 feet tall, roughly the height of a 20-story building. The Federal Aviation Administration, he said, may limit the south campus’s cross to 150 feet because it’s near Ellington Field.

Five-and-a-half minutes into the Grace Community Church video above, Grace senior pastor Steve Riggle walks viewers through a drawing of a more elaborate structure. Riggle asks

What if there was one of these at every entrance to the city? And it was there for the prayer movement in the city, not just a church. You talk about marking our city for God.

After the jump: More crosses on the side of the highway!


Drawing of Proposed 200-Foot-Tall Cross Monuments on the Gulf Freeway and I-45 North, Grace Community Church, HoustonThe drawing shows a cylindrical prayer center mounted 40 feet above a stone base, reached by elevators and topped by a hollow and open globe. The cross stabs through the globe at the North Pole, which is quite a ways away from Houston.

Marking Our City Billboard for Grace Community Church, Houston

Speaking at a news conference last week, Riggle said he was serious about wanting the structures “at every entrance” to Houston, writes Bay Area Citizen reporter Chuck Hlava:

“I would surround the city,” he said.

The crosses are not about Grace Community Church, Riggle pointed out.

“This is a symbol of a much larger vision – it’s for the city,” he said. “Here is an opportunity to physically and spiritually mark the city in a tangible way.” . . .

The total cost of the cross project doesn’t have a bottom line yet, and Riggle also plans to ask non-members of Grace from around the city to donate.

From a church brochure:

Brochure for Grace Community Church, Houston

25 Comment

  • My comments are oh, never mind.

  • I’d like to put up some 200′ tall statues of Ozzie Osborne and mark the city for Heavy Metal worship. Wonder if there is any way to stop this silliness?

  • Does anyone watch weeds? This sounds very majestic to me.

  • first time posting just because of this:
    this is SOOO bad. aren’t there sign ordinances that cover this? this is bigger than a billboard. and you can’t quite call that a piece of art

  • This is more about the ego of the church leaders than about spreading any sort of good. That money would be better served actually helping people. I”ll take my pastor who works in small and wonderful ways, and doesn’t need to advertise it or the church.

  • The pastor needs such a big cross to compensate for other obvious shortcomings….Why don’t they just but Heritage USA???

  • It’s marking something alright.

  • Since it’s a Christian symbol; the FAA will get it “nixed” under the pretence that it’s too dangerous for their drones that fly out of Ellington, which have replaced the “real” jets.
    If this was a mosque, whith a tower the same height; the mainstream media would not even publish the story. It’s the church’s money, and as far as money being better spent; take a look at our government; local, state, and federal-now there’s allot of waisted money being spent that is from our hard earned money.

  • That quote from Lou Gallardo at the bottom takes the cake. That’s the guy who created AmeriSciences, the creepy, culty snake oil pyramid scheme that’s bilked hundreds of folks out of millions of dollars… I wonder if he made that quote from prison.

  • Isn’t anyone offended by the garbage that everyone has to look at now as we drive up and down 45? This city has more sexually oriented establishments than any place I have ever been. I happen to be a Christian but ever if you are not…and that is your choice….wouldn’t you rather see a cross than a bunch of advertisements for sexually oriented establishments? If nothing else, I would think it would appeal to the morally upright???

  • Rhonda, I’d rather see absolutely nothing along the roadways in Houston except for pine trees. I hate billboards with the same vitriol with which I hate the idea of giant , ostentatious crosses.

    But that’s not the point here. The point is that this “church” is more interested in spending their congregation’s money on “feel good” projects and showy “acts of faith” than on true Christian endeavors. As many, many other people have said: think about how that money could be used in much more constructive ways, such as mission work, helping abused women and children, feeding the hungry, providing free immunizations, assisting the elderly, etc. But, hey. Those things don’t lend themselves to “showing off” quite as well, do they?

    This church is using their money and their ridiculous crosses to do nothing more than draw attention to themselves. The crosses would be the equivalent of billboards: tacky and wasteful. I think the Grace congregation ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  • I wish a Catholic church were doing this, then we’d also get an awesome giant Jesus attached to the cross.
    He could defend Houston against Godzilla or Cloverfieldesque events.
    Now that’s a savior.

  • This is a sick, abominable idea. There is nothing I am aware of in any religion Christian or otherwise that could possibly begin to promote such a monstrous egotistical display.

    What a way to praise god, add yet another eyesore to black gods natural creations. I like the idea of heaven SO much that I prefer my views of it not be blocked.

    Jeez, this is like penis envy for religion.


  • So many of these comments really sadden me. And amazes me. I drove down I 45 this morning and saw the cross sign – tho barely as the bill board with a scantily clad lingerie ad was a short distance past it. But it appears that ads such as these are acceptable to many. My 10 yr old granddaughter didn’t think so. At least not at this point in her life.

    Have we become so comfortable and accepting of the existing images cluttering our freeways and city that we don’t care or think about the affect it leaves with our youth? Or is it the fear of viewing a cross that would make us stop and think of what that cross represents. Would that cross really make you more uncomfortable than the liquor or sex ads? If so, then it’s even more reason why there needs to be changes made to what our youth is also viewing sitting quietly in the back seat.

    This city is full of crime, drugs, poverty and instead of feeding into it why not try something to help it? That help is not going to come from the governmental agencies obviously.

    Many here made assumptions of the persons involved in a church wanting to take a stand and have themselves represented on the side of the road. Do you know anything about the church or persons attending? What kind of church is it? Catholic, Baptist, etc.. What services do they offer to this city….do you know? I googled it and snooped around some. This “selfish and self glorifying church” sponsors an enormous amount of homeless shelters, clothing centers, outreach ministries, battered women shelters, food pantries, senior assited living programs, on and on. Wow, what self serving jackyls they are.

    If your child was lieing in a hospital bed with a dismal chance of survival….what would you do? Pray? If you don’t believe then how can you expect that prayer to be heard? Would you be ashamed of praying? Or as your child sat up in bed, smiling…would you say “Praise God”

  • This is the most absurd thing I have EVER seen! Why should the non-christian part of houston have to look at this huge symbol that has a negative connotation to them everyday on their way to work?

    This is a catastrophic waste of money too. If the church wants to help people, then they should do just that. A 150ft or 200ft cross isn’t going to spread god’s love or enlighten all the sinners into leading perfect prayer-filled lives.

    If other religions take their faiths as seriously as this pastor does…

    Actually. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if something violent or outrageous happened after this is built in protest.

    Maybe the pastor’s already got that covered in his prayers.

  • That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Biggest waste of money.

  • For all of you against this mega cross, let me ask you one thing…who do you call on when things go bad. Its an awesome idea. Can’t wait. We need one built from all 4 directions.
    Thank you Grace Community for taking such a bold step.
    God Bless You

  • I drive by this billboard twice a day. I am very offended by the fact that I will have to look at this monstrosity. I am offended by the fact that a group of people think that the best way to ‘glorify’ what they think is the creator of the universe with tacky crosses. I am offended that some responders think a symbol of a religious group is somehow ‘morally upright’ or that ones needs to believe in the religion behind that symbol to be moral.

    I am offended that this church would spend money on this rather than do what they claim is their true mission.

  • This guy fell for the sin of PRIDE.
    also, he dares to ask non members to donate… omg..

  • I can’t think that Jesus, such a humble man, would ever approve of something that obnoxious. On top of being an eyesore, everyone is right that the money wasted on that cross could have been better spent on something else. And stop talking about the billboards for the adult shops, you are just deflecting the point about the cross being enorumus and out of place.

  • As comedian Bill Hicks said, I don’t know that Jesus would be so excited to see all the crosses. That was the vehicle of his execution comparable to the electric chair.

  • Rhonda…so lets see if we have this right.. the choices are porn ads or a giant execution devise that to 24% of the poplation is either a meaningles symbol, offensive symbol, or symbol of intolerance and ignorance?

    Thats the choice?

    I wonder how acepting good Christians like you would be if someone errected a 200 foot tall crescent of Islam, or Star of David, or Wiccan totem, or statue of Buddha.

    I’m guessing you’d probably not go quietly into accepting THAT alternative to “porn ads”. Oh no…that wouldn’t do at all, would it Rhonda?

    Hypocrite…thy name is Christian.

  • We just got back from a vacation to the Houston area. I personally think the existing monster cross is ugly at the least. “Marking” the city of Houston with ugly giant crosses makes me think of a dog marking a fire hydrant, only the dog is less offensive. It’s only doing what nature dictates it to do. The giant crosses are symbols of many things, none of them being nice. I can’t help but wonder, if Jesus had been hanged instead of crucified, would the people want to erect giant gallows?

  • I can’t believe you guys. You don’t know ANYTHING about this man, the leaders of the church or what they do for the city. Our pastor has been poor, been through horrible things, taken hostage, attacked, survived. Our church is very blessed now. Many of our members are blessed and able to help out the needy. The church is involved in soo many different outreaches and charities, I can’t even name them all. One in works now is the “Grace Village”

    I can’t believe a cross would offend anyone, I think you’re all wound a lil tight. ;) Loosen up, I am a big girl, I can handle looking at other religous symbols, without crying and wanting to hide. Don’t assume we’d get offended and try to stop other trying to do this with other symbols. I wouldn’t mind, because I don’t believe in them so what harm can it cause me? If this symbol means nothing to you, then why do you care if it’s there?

    Maybe because you’re feeling something, you can’t explain? I don’t know, except that you shouldn’t care at ALL if you don’t believe!

    “perfect prayer-filled lives” NO, that will never happen for ANYONE because God always reminds that we’re sinners too. You don’t know anything about how we really feel, and live and what the church does.

    Nobody remembers Ike, how the members left their own damaged homes and families to come and SERVE complete strangers, not asking if you’re a member, not asking if you’re a christian. Or if you do remember, is that also an example of our pride? I doubt no matter what the church does or did, we will get called the same things because you don’t know the facts.

    So suck it up, I know it’s hard. If I can go on about looking at things I don’t like, so can you. Avert your eyes if you want, I don’t care. Learn the facts before you talk umm, type. Don’t assume things about christians, churchs until you talk to them, get to know them. Just like you don’t want us judging you, can we get the same please? Whenever you need us we’re here, no questions asked. Not just at Christmas either. If you’re ever hard on your luck on the streets, we’ll be there, It doesn’t matter what you said, with a smile, wanting to help you. Hope to see you at a place called Grace. <3 ;)

  • Greeting in the name of Jesus Christ, Praise the Lord.

    We all okay by the grace of God we hope you also will be okay by the Grace of God. Dear. I feel Pleased to state these few words to get my self introduced at this time. For Your Kind information I am Raymond E. Mbidu a resident of Tanzania, I live in the city of Dar Es salaam, just 5km. from the city centre at a place Yombo Vituka, close to the Dar Es salaam International Airport, ministering the Gospel service in our Area along the sea coast Have been regularly going on Gospel outreach service in most un reached rural villages we are able to find extraordinary results through our efforts.

    At present we wish to get more strengthened by your encouragements through your ministry to invite you & your Team in Christ in Dar Es salaam, Tanzania for the Jesus Glory. We want to arrange a big gathering of people, 5 days Healing Crusade & 3 days Pastors Leadership Conference So in this way we give you invitation for the Crusade & Pastors leadership Conference in Dar Es salaam, Tanzania. So dear most beloved Please give us time for the Jesus glory in Tanzania in 2010 we hope and Trust on God that you will respond positively in giving us Time in 2010. We are praying for your coming to Tanzania. We also want to affiliation & work with you in future here Tanzania. We do request your positive & quick reply as soon as possible for Jesus Christ. God is good all the Time. God bless you and your Family and Church.

    Pastor Mbidu.
    For Souls sake
    We are anxious waiting for your kind response.