First Presbyterian Church of Port Gibson, Miss., received an entry on the website Atlas Obscura on December 20. Atlas Obscura bills itself as “The definitive guide to the world’s wonders.”
The entry, “First Presbyterian Church Golden Hand” explains the background behind the church’s unusual steeple topper. It honors the congregation’s first installed pastor, Zebulun Butler, who served from 1828 until his death in 1860. He punctuated his sermons by pointing up as if to heaven.
“Our ‘golden hand’ is indeed one of the best-known tourist attractions in our area,” said Michael Herrin, current Pastor who also serves as Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Gulf South.
“So many people know and love it that the last time we had the hand regilded, fully one-third of the cost was paid for by people who are not members of the congregation,” he added. “But I like to think that it does what all steeples are supposed to do: to point us away from ourselves to God, reminding us that Jesus is the only way to the Father. The hand just puts an exclamation point on that important truth.”
Atlas Obscura is an award-winning media and travel company with a platform for discovering the world’s hidden wonders. Its first book, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, was a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon and in The New York Times.