HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) - This Easter is special to Jeannette Golden of Hemphill.
The pastor is planning a community-wide event the week after Easter. It will be a victory celebration following a rule change by the Texas Department of Transportation.
The debate over billboards displaying Christian messages has led to a wider religious movement.
Jeannette Golden will never look upon her property on Highway 21 near Milam quite the same. It's where her display of a Ten Commandments sign led to change in state policy.
"Last year it was during the week before the Resurrection too and so this is kinda like a year celebration," said Jeannette Golden, the owner of the Ten Commandments sign. "And we're excited."
At Easter time last year, Christians gathered around Golden in opposition to a state rule that prohibited non-commercial signs on private property. The Liberty Institute entered into the debate with TxDOT. Six months later, signs like Golden's was exempt from the state regulation.
"I just stood in faith believing that the victory was going to be ours from the very get go," Golden said.
Pastors give Golden credit for speaking out.
"A lot of people just don't feel like taking the bull by the horns so to speak as she did," said Frank Ebarb, the pastor of the Word of Truth Church in Many, Louisiana. "She didn't call for this, but it was just brought to her."
Now churches and businesses across Deep East Texas are erecting signs with Christian messages. One banner, designed by Golden, went up Tuesday in Hemphill.
At least two businesses donate $200 a month to pay for the billboard. In addition, a billboard account is set up at Sabine State Bank, and frequent deposits are made.
Most of the banners are ordered from GodsTen.com at much-reduced costs. Its founder is Philip Klevmoen, a Montana rancher. The evangelist will speak at Golden's celebration on April 11th.
"The most important thing we have is our children and our grandchildren, and how can they learn and know or do the Ten Commandments if they never see them?" Klevmoen said.
Golden said she wants her victory celebration to help continue the mission.
"I have sent out 50 letters to the churches in this area in the Sabine County area and Many, Louisiana to get the leaders to come together and make a stand for what we believe," Golden said.
To make it happen, Golden said she is relying on her favorite Bible passage, "With God, all things are possible."
The free victory celebration will be held on April 11, the Saturday after Easter. It will be at the Hemphill Eye Clinic at 2 p.m.