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Church continues tradition

POSTED: April 3, 2013 4:00 a.m.
David Renner Dawson Community News/

Pastor Bobby Whitmire, center, represents Jesus on the cross while Deacon Michael Densmore, left, and Yancy Savage, right, represent the two criminals.

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Despite having been with New Bethel Baptist Church for only four years, Pastor Bobby Whitmire is continuing a tradition that has spanned more than 30.

Whitmire and two church members, Michael Densmore, a deacon, and Yancy Savage, stood on platforms affixed to wooden crosses in front of the church March 29, off of Hwy. 136 East.

"We do this every year to remember the price that Christ paid on the cross," Whitmire said. "This small symbol brings back the memory of what He did."

According to Whitmire, the trio stood on the platforms for 12 hours, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

"We were up here before the sun came up and we'll be here when it goes back down," said Whitmire. "During the day, people will stop, wave and take pictures. We even get a few that honk and give a thumbs up."

Savage said he remembers a time that one visitor found particularly powerful.

"About two years ago, we had one person accept Jesus right at [Whitmire's] feet," he said. "They knelt down right at the foot of Jesus' cross."

The display led up to New Bethel's annual sunrise and Easter services.

"Our purpose is to lift up the name of Jesus Christ," Whitmire said. "We don't do this to attract a crowd."

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