City takes down church's 'Jesus Welcomes You' sign overnight

The city of Hawkins and a church congregation are fighting over a "Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins" sign alongside U.S. 80 that was removed overnight. (Google Maps)

For four years, those who drove into a small town in Texas were greeted with a sign that said: "Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins."

But overnight, after a lengthy court battle, the town abruptly took down the sign. City officials say it's on public land and in the way of future development.

The church that put up the sign is vowing to fight back.

The sign along U.S. 80 leading into the Hawkins, a Texas town with a little over 1,300 residents, was put up in 2015 in front of a Hawkins coffeehouse, on property owned by Jesus Christ Open Altar Church. Until it was taken down, members of the flock stood watch over the "Jesus" banner.

Church trustee Mark McDonald told the local news he was notified by the police of the removal.

“The city employees destroyed our church property, pulled up our crosses and destroyed everything,” McDonald told the Longview News-Journal Friday.

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