Originally created 04/07/01

Good Friday cross walks recall Passion



To observe Good Friday, churches of various denomina-tions in south Augusta will band together in ecumenical cross walks.

Participants will depart from Burns Memorial United Methodist Church, 2372 Lumpkin Road, to start the Deans Bridge area procession at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

They will move on to Ascension Lutheran Church, 2860 Wells Drive, and walk through neighborhood streets to conclude at noon with a presentation of the Living Stations of the Cross at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 2607 Lumpkin Road.

A shuttle will return walkers to the churches where they started. The event is sponsored by the 30906 Pastors Group, a network of area clergy.

Members of several churches in the Tobacco Road area, including Gracewood United Methodist Church, 2117 Tobacco Road, and Freedom Fellowship, 2204 Tobacco Road, will gather at their campuses at 3 p.m. for cross walks and then converge at the Bi-Lo parking lot at the corner of Windsor Spring and Tobacco roads for a concert at 4 p.m. Friday.

The Gospels record that Christ carried his cross outside Jerusalem to Calvary, where he was crucified between two thieves. Early followers retraced his steps along Jerusalem's Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows. It is a devotion contemporary pilgrims continue today, and a few carry crosses.

Last year, some 250 to 300 people joined a mostly silent procession to St. Joseph. The crowd grew along the way as they paused for readings.

When they arrived at St. Joseph, parish youth preformed the Passion and Crucifixion in tableau for the Living Stations. "Some of the other churches wanted us to do it again, to have two performances, they liked it so much," said Patrick Hill, 19, a member of St. Joseph.

While someone narrated, Mr. Hill and other actors stood behind a large white sheet mounted in a specially built frame, their shadowy forms silhouetted against the sheet by a light.

The players used a life-size cross, a strobe and a hammer to dramatize the story, said Mr. Hill, who also narrated one year. "Each tableau has two or three people in it. It works out really neat the way it looks on the outside."

Good Friday is an ideal day for a service that includes Catholics and non-Catholics, said Bob Garrett, an Episcopalian and an organizer of the Deans Bridge area procession. He participated in his first walk some 25 years ago.

Catholics offer Mass every day of the year except Good Friday. While Mass is open to anyone, only those in communion with the Catholic Church can receive the Eucharist. So on Good Friday, non-Catholics can participate as fully as Catholics, Mr. Garrett said.

The ecumenical dimension also has been greatly enhanced by the goodwill generated by the 30906 pastors, who get together regularly for discussion, prayer and lunch, he said.

About 80 joined the Tobacco Road walk last year, and another 50 people drifted in and out of the parking lot concert, said the Rev. Ron Fearneyhough, Gracewood pastor. He also meets with the 30906 clergy.

Jamie Jansen of Gracewood will lead the music, and a prayer booth will be set up at the concert, he said. "Anyone who wants prayer - we will pray for them."

For more information about the Deans Bridge Road walk, call 798-1920. For more information about the Tobacco Road walk, call 798-2200.

Information about the Via Dolorosa is available on the Internet at www.holy-land-online.com/jerusalem/viadolorosa/first.htm.

Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or vanorton@augustachronicle.com.