Holly Almeter drove 45 minutes from Dearing, Ga., with her four small children to join other Christians on Good Friday as they walked through parts of south Augusta in reflection of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.
With her 9-month-old swaddled next to her chest, Almeter held her daughter’s hand in one palm and carried a small cross in the other while walking on Lumpkin Road toward Lutheran Church of Ascension, one of three stops on the 1.5-mile trek. Almeter’s parents-in-law pushed her other two children in strollers.
“I tell my children about how Jesus carried the cross on Good Friday and then died,” said Almeter, who is a member of the Alleluia Community in Dearing. “This brings it to life and is an interactive way to show the children and to participate in a spiritual way.”
About 250 churchgoers gathered Friday morning at Burns Memorial United Methodist Church where they listened to religious songs and short sermons and prayed before filing out onto the sidewalk along Lumpkin Road and then up Wells Drive.
Four men carrying large wooden crosses draped in purple cloth led the walk. Members of many denominations made the journey, stopping at stations along the way to sing and pray.
After leaving Ascension Lutheran, the group stopped at Hillcrest Baptist Church and ended at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Lumpkin Road.
Walkers carried crosses that varied in size, and residents along the walk’s path waved from their porches.
“You’re able to be a witness to the community,” said the Rev. Keith Cox, the pastor at Burns United Methodist. “But you also have that time of personal reflection.”
The Good Friday Way of the Cross Walk is sponsored by the South Augusta Pastors’ Alliance.
Cox is often told by participants that the experience enhances their Easter Sunday, he said.
“It’s another way to connect to Christ by going through this journey,” he said.
Joe and Becky Prouty, who attend Church of the Most Holy Trinity, have made the walk for six years.
“It’s a great remembrance of what Jesus did for us to give his life for our sins,” Joe Prouty said.
The Martinez couple both carried a large cross and wore cross necklaces.
“He sacrificed for us,” Becky Prouty said. “We can sacrifice for him.”