A group of citizens now calls itself the “CrossKeepers.”
Its interest lies in filling Ozark and Christian County with lighted cross displays during certain times of the year.
The group held four meetings, and announced the scheduling of two more. Lynn Morris, a state representative for Christian County, has been a de facto leader of the group.
“The goal of the CrossKeepers group is to place as many crosses as possible before the end of the year,” Morris said in a press release. “The group will work with individuals, families, businesses, and churches to place crosses on private property.”
This group states it is not affiliated with the city of Ozark, the government of Christian County or the large blue cross display at Finley River Park in Ozark. The Christian County Agricultural and Mechanical Society reportedly purchased the large, blue cross from the city. It now stands on park land that is owned by the A&M Society.
On Nov. 30, 2018, the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the city of Ozark asking that the city take down the cross display in the park.
On Dec. 11, 2018, Ozark city officials announced that the cross lights would be deactivated, but reversed course about four hours later and announced that the cross would remain on display at the park and illuminated at night as part of Ozark’s drive-through holiday light park. The lands of Finley River Park are partially owned by the city of Ozark and partially owned by the Christian County Agriculture and Mechanical Society, which administers portions of the Christian County Fair. In early 2019, city employees moved the frame of the cross to a spot in the middle of the park near the saddle club arena, land that the A&M Society owns.
The CrossKeepers say they plan to concentrate on encouraging lighted cross displays on private land on certain holidays, namely Christmas and Easter.
On Oct. 31, the CrossKeepers plan a social gathering at the Christian County Library Ozark branch at 10:30 a.m. There will be information presented on the organization’s mission, and parents are invited to bring kids to enjoy some treats.
On Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m., the CrossKeepers host a business meeting at Fremont Hills Country Club in Nixa.
“The meeting will consist of electing officers and board members and the planning and implementation of placing crosses throughout Christian County,” the press release states.