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24-foot-high cross planted near Antietam Battlefield

Minn. pastor, area residents assembled it to honor those killed in Civil War

October 19, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Pastor Bill Mantel of Cambridge, Minn., left, and others erect a 24-foot high wooden cross at the Clara Bee on Sharpsburg Pike on Friday. Mantel and his Christian Cyber Ministries hopes to put up a cross in every state and country.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

A 24-foot high cross will now overlook motorists driving down Sharpsburg Pike and past The Battle of Antietam in Miniature building on the right.

The cross was put up Friday as Pastor Bill Mantel from Cambridge, Minn., along with a team of area residents, assembled it to honor those who were killed in the Civil War and the Battle of Antietam.

“We know that God played a very important part in what was happening in the Battle of Antietam,” he said. “We want to give Him glory to what happened at that battle to where we are today.”

The cross is part of an international ongoing project for Mantel, of Christian Cyber Ministries, where he plans to put at least one cross in every country and at least one in every state in the United States.

According to the project website, 10 crosses have been planted in the United States across six states, and 34 crosses have been planted in at least seven countries.

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Mantel said he got the idea after a personal experience. He was in a car accident in 1994 and had to use pain medication through 2007. In January of 2007, he said he was in South Africa and a man there prayed for him, after which he felt healed and has not had to use any pain medication since.

“Jesus healed me of that pain at that particular time,” he said. “We planted the first cross to give God glory for that healing.”

The first cross was planted at a family farm in Minnesota, Mantel said, and in 2008 he made the decision to plant more crosses across the world, paid for by donations from people who receive daily devotions from Christian Cyber Ministries.

“The cross had such an impact on us, the people around us, and the community, that the board of Christian Cyber Ministries decided that we should do this,” he said. “We would like to plant the Holy Spirit for it to grow and spread across the area.”

Area residents helped to work on the local cross, and it was put up by 1:30 p.m. Friday after work on it began around 10:30 a.m.

Lester Mason, owner of the property, said that it is important for him to have a cross planted there because he believes God had a hand in keeping the Union together.

“This is dedicated to the people in the Civil War and shows a symbol of Christianity,” he said. “If the North and South were divided into two different countries, I feel strongly during World War I and World War II, we could not have succeeded.”

Mason, who also lives on the property, located at 6508 Sharpsburg Pike, added that the cross is personal for him.

“It’s important for my mother to know that I’m doing this,” he said. “She was a Christian lady and passed away over two years ago.”

The upright beam of the cross is 30 feet, but six feet of it is in the ground, and the horizontal beam is between 10 and 12 feet, according to Mantel.

Mason’s son, Doug, of Wayneboro, Pa., is a professional carpenter and helped put together the cross, including sawing it and laying it out.

He said that he was happy to be a part of the project because of what it represents to him.

“It stands for freedom and what this country was founded on,” he said. “That’s why we fought that great Civil War, to win that freedom.”

Mason, 53, added, however, that it also represents to him the continual struggle for freedom.

“We’ve got a long ways to go, and in my opinion the Civil War is still not over yet,” he said. “We’ve still have struggles, but with the help of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we’ll prevail.”

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