HOW IT BEGAN
The Roadside Cross Ministry began in 1984 when the late Reverend Bernard Coffindaffer erected the first trio of gold and blue Crosses in Flatwoods, West Virginia, about 65 miles north of Charleston. The former businessman-turned-evangelist was called by the Lord on a trip to Israel to build the Crosses. He liquidated his business and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Coffindaffer spent nearly $3,000,000 planting Crosses in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Zambia and the Philippines until his death in 1993. "The Crosses stand to remind people that Jesus was crucified on a Cross at Calvary for our sins; there is hope in Jesus Christ; and, that He is soon coming again."
On January 27, 1935, in Craigsville, West Virginia, Bernard Coffindaffer was born. His father died early on and his mother died from cancer when he was ten years old, leaving him an orphan. Despite his very difficult circumstances, he graduated from high school at the age of fourteen and served six years in the U. S. Marines with duty in the Pacific, Iwo Jima, and Nagasaki, Japan.
Bernard graduated from the University of Charleston with a degree in Business. Bernard Coffindaffer is the founder of the nonprofit Crosses of Mercy - Cast Thy Bread, Inc., now called Crosses Across America, Inc.
Coffindaffer worked in the oil Industry and later founded his coal-washing business in the mountains of West Virginia. However, he creatively was able to carve a small fortune from this venture.
Coffindaffer became a Christian at the age of forty-two and eventually became a self-proclaimed Methodist minister serving seven small churches in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. He was distinguished with an honorary doctorate degree in Florida.
After two heart by-pass operations, Bernard liquidated his business and two years later had what he called a genuine, marvelous, glorious vision. He said that the Holy Spirit instructed, blessed, and dealt with me and told me how to go about installing these crosses. It was an experience you have once in a lifetime.
Bernard was told what to do: get manpower, materials, and plant crosses. He worked like a dog for the money, eighteen hours a day for thirty-five years. The Holy Spirit knew he had the money and was willing to spend it, and I'm not going to back down.
Using his own money, Coffindaffer began the erection of the clusters of crosses in September, 1984.
Approximately 1,900 crosses were built in America, Zambia, and the Philippines. For the nine final years of his life, he obediently spent approximately $3,000,000 planting the clusters of three crosses.
Site owners donated the use of the land and Coffindaffer paid all the bills. The project ended with Rev. Coffindaffer's death on October 8, 1993.
Our organization has secured all of Rev. Coffindaffer’s files, photographs, plans, films, and other items and has established an International Headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The three Crosses symbolize Christ on the Cross flanked by the two thieves that were crucified with Him. Coffindaffer, the colorful businessman turned evangelist, was the subject of a PBS documentary on his life entitled, Point Man For God, and was shown on the award-winning series, Different Drummer. CBS News did a segment on him for CBS Sunday Morning.
Sara Stevenson Abraham answered the Lord's call to continue the Ministry in 1999. She formed a new non-profit organization entitled Crosses Across America, Inc. The International Headquarters of Crosses Across America is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Sara is the organization's Executive Director.
Sara is locating the standing clusters of crosses and getting them straightened, repaired, and restored. Abraham presents the story of the crosses for churches, civic organizations, television, and radio programs.
In addition to the restoration, Mrs. Abraham does publicity, fund-raising, and manages the International Headquarters with the help of a staff of volunteer engineers, scientists, businessmen, and people with computer, clerical, and secretarial skills.
Contact us in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for more information about our founder, Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer, and Crosses Across America.