Jim and Mary Snider are some of the most excellent hosts you will meet in the promoting business. The Truthseekers’ Homecoming, held at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, is a place where you feel at home the moment you step in the building; a feeling that all of the Truthseekers lavish upon each attendee. Their home church, Lone Oak Baptist, is much the same. At the beginning of July we visited Illinois (the Marion/Carbondale region) for a concert on Saturday night. Though the concert was not affiliated with the Truthseekers, we stayed the night and worshiped at Lone Oak Baptist on Sunday morning. After a wonderful service and lunch, Jim and Mary insisted they take us to see Bald Knob Cross – a local monument that holds special memories and meaning for folks in the area.
On the ride there, Mary shared with us how Bald Knob Cross began and how as a child, her pastor, Reverend W. H. Lirely, was heavily involved and influential in the project. (Lirely also married Jim and Mary.) The Bald Knob Cross of Peace is located on the highest point in Southern Illinois overlooking the beautiful hills and valleys that surround the area. It was built as a place of worship and the first Sunrise Easter Service was held there in 1937. Today, thousands attend the Sunrise Service on Easter morning at Bald Knob Cross and other events are held there as well. Bald Knob is located 1,000 feet above sea level and on a clear day you can see several states. When you go in the visitor’s center, you can look out the back window and follow instructions on the paper and see certain places. From standing on the x taped to the floor you can see the Cape Girardeau, Missouri Bridge, a bend in the Mississippi River and one of the locations of the Trail of Tears in the distance.
When we walked up the hill and stood under the Cross, I could only imagine what a sunrise service would be like on Easter morning. Though the sky was overcast while we visited, the sprawling hills and valleys were breathtaking. The Cross itself is a massive structure that towers above you. You can walk around the base and right up to it if you like. On one side, there is a plaque in memory of the Cross founder, Wayman R. Presley. (Click the link below to read more about Mr. Presley and how he and Reverend Lirely were key in starting the Cross.) We stayed for a few minutes and took in the panoramic view before walking back down the hill; we all agreed that this was a place you could come to just sit and meditate on the goodness of God.
The Bald Knob Cross of Peace is a place of worship and a testimony to an area dedicated to keeping Christ in the community. If you’re driving through or visiting Southern Illinois and enjoy local history and scenic places, I think you would enjoy stopping there. It is a very peaceful place where you can relax and take in God’s creation. Below I’ve included a link to a page with the history of the Cross and how/when it was built. It’s a great read and very interesting!
You can read the full history here —> History of Bald Knob Cross
Directions to the Bald Knob Cross of Peace —> Here
For information on the Truthseekers Homecoming, visit this page —> Truthseekers Homecoming