Marchers celebrate Good Friday


April 11, 1993|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

Despite the cold, gray day, dozens of people turned out in Westminster on Good Friday to follow Jesus' directive to "Take up your cross and follow me."

A worship procession based on the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Sorrows, the path through Jerusalem that tradition says Jesus walked on his way to be crucified -- wound from Westminster United Church of the Brethren to Westminster United Methodist Church.

Participants stopped periodically to observe each "station of the cross" and for meditation. Those who wished helped carry a large cross. At each stop, bearers rotated so everyone could participate.

"This is not just a re-enactment, but a contemplation of human suffering," said the Rev. Keith Hardy, the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church.

Mr. Hardy helped to organize the event, along with the Rev. Henry Schwarzmann of Deer Park United Methodist Church.

"We are doing this not just to remember the suffering of Jesus," Mr. Hardy told the crowd, "but to remember the suffering of the people in our community and to motivate ourselves."

Sponsored by the Westminster Ministerial Association, the walk has been an annual event for five years and brings together members from various churches and communities.

On Friday, the crowd walked and sang hymns. At each stop, a minister or lay person read prepared statements and meditations that intertwined the responsibilities of a Christian with the sacrifice of Christ. The crowd read responses.

"It raises consciousness," said the Rev. Scott Duffey, a pastor at the Church of the Brethren.

"It reminds us of the Christian importance of Easter," Mr. Duffey said. "It was wonderful to see so many children out today and carrying the cross."

Grace Weaverling, a 6-year-old first-grader at Westminster Elementary School, came with her mother, Susanne. Grace looked forward to walking, but had one worry.

"I won't like one thing, I'm cold," Grace said. Nevertheless, she was there because "today is the day he was crucified."

The Rev. Ronald Fisher, the rector at the Church of the Ascension in Westminster, came with his wife, Becky, and their two sons, Erik, 12, and Andrew, 9.

"I've been doing this for about five years," said Mr. Fisher. "I like the meditations and the fact that the whole community comes together."

Andrew walked and held high a separate cross he had made.

"I feel like I need to, because in this march I feel like I can really praise God and get a feel of what I really need to do for him," he said.

JoAnne Krieder, a member of Mr. Fisher's church, came with herfamily.

"This is my first walk. I used to own that blue store over there [Forget-Me-Not on Main Street], and I would watch every year as people would walk past," Mrs. Krieder said.

"Most of my family is here. We felt that we should do this as a family."

Mrs. Krieder paused to embrace John Holmes and his wife as they joined the march.

"This Friday walk has broken down some of the barriers here in town," said Dr. Holmes, the director of government affairs for the Association of Christian Schools International and a member of the New Life Foursquare Gospel Church.

"You see people going to this service, walking this walk and carrying the cross, and then you see them in the supermarket, and you share with them a little bit of Jesus and how they are doing," he said.

Every year, the procession starts at the church that had been the last stop on the march the previous year. At the end of the march, there is a Good Friday worship service.

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