Dennis James cross

Elizabeth and Christopher James stand with the cross their dad, Dennis, carved recently from a tree trunk. The two youngsters are quick to proudly say, “That’s our cross!” James said he wanted the cross to be a symbol of his family’s love for Christ.

Driving along Simmons Street in downtown Elba, one will notice a cross carved from the trunk of a tree. For some it may just be viewed as an artistic creation, but for Dennis James, it is a symbol of his love for Jesus Christ.

The tree was going to be cut down, according to James, by the city. It was getting too high to power lines and cutting it down would be preventative measure for electrical issues. 

Despite being on the ‘right-of-way’ portion, the tree was a part of the James’ household yard. James had another idea for saving a portion of the tree.

“I hated for them to cut the whole tree down and it be gone when I could do something with it,” James said. “I convinced them to leave enough of it that I could carve the cross.”

Turns out, this would be James’ first carving project. He now jokes that it might also be his last.

“I’m not really the artistic kind, and it turned out to be a bit harder than I envisioned,” he said. “Took two or three days to complete.”

James said he had seen carvings before, and he felt like this would be something he could do with the tree. He said he thought the cross project would be the best one for him.

“I wanted to show what my family and I stand for – our love for Jesus Christ,” James said. 

He said he hopes the Elba community will enjoy the cross as much as he and his family. He said it would continue to be a symbol of his family’s love for Christ, and he hopes it will help spread a love for Jesus across the community as it stands tall on Simmons Street.

With Easter coming up on Sunday, James said he plans to add a bit more décor to the cross further symbolizing the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ.

“I’m very proud of how well the cross turned out,” James said. 

He said he hopes all of Elba will enjoy it too and have no doubt that the James household is a home of believers filled with love for Jesus.

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