Banners of Hope

Banners hung in the windows of businesses and at homes along Commercial Street in Hanceville bring the message of Easter. (Nolan Bradford)

HANCEVILLE, Ala.– As Barbara Wilson, wife of Hanceville City Councilman Charles Wilson, thought about ways to bring the message of Easter into better view for the people of Hanceville this year, she remembered banners she had made years ago. The banners were made shortly after the Wilsons moved to Hanceville in 1991 and hung for a period of time inside Hanceville First Baptist Church. The banners were brought out of storage and are now displayed in the windows of businesses and outside of homes along Commercial Street.

Barbara Wilson wanted to get the banners out once again for people to see in hopes of creating a “better feeling for Easter.” After a call down to the church, the banners were found in storage totes and delivered to Nolan Bradford who was busy Friday afternoon getting them hung.

Charles Wilson said of the banners, “All of the colors and all of the design and most all of them has a Bible verse in sequin material on them. It tells you what all these colors mean and everything about them. King of Kings, Man of Sorrows, The Redeemer, Lord of Lords-all of that is mentioned in the Bible. I’m not a Bible scholar by all means, but that’s what it’s all about.”

He added, “It’s a teaching element.”

One banner hanging at the Eddie Burkhart home depicts the Man of Sorrows.

“You’ve really got to look at it now and you will see Jesus’s face in it,” Charles Wilson said.

The Man of Sorrows banner has a history of being effective in delivering an important message.

Charles Wilson recalled, “An elderly gentleman at Westwood Baptist, he didn’t think anything of these banners to start with and he was a big member of their church down there. He had voiced his opinion about it. One day, he got up in the church and said, ‘I have looked at that banner three or four times and I finally realized what I was looking at. It’s not always what you first see in life. When you look at it just right, it’s the Man of Sorrows. It’s Jesus. It’s his face! You’ve made a believer out of me.’ It’s a teaching tool is all it is. It’s a teaching of the Bible.”

He explained, “Years ago we were going to church at Westwood Baptist and they wanted to start a banner ministry. We went to Bellevue, the big Baptist Church in Memphis, and they had a banner ministry.”

The Wilsons attended a service where the banners were brought in a procession and were impressed by what they saw. Barbara Wilson came back from the service and got to work creating banners.

He added, “She’s made different ones for different churches around in different places.”

Bradford hoped to have all the banners hung by Friday afternoon. One banner was already up Friday morning at Hanceville Drug Company. For those looking for new ways to celebrate Easter this weekend, a drive up Commercial Street in Hanceville might be a great choice.

Said Charles Wilson, “I know that would certainly bring some cheer to Barbara.”

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