Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Members of Henry County area churches gathered to participate in ‘Way of the Cross’

Apr 02, 2018
Photo by: Gretchen Teske Ajay Wagner, 9, carries the cross and leads a crowd of people down Main Street. The cross was remade a few years ago to be light enough for youth to be able to carry it also.

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


On Friday, March 30 over 50 members of area churches gathered to participate in stations of the cross walk around Mt. Pleasant in honor of Good Friday.

The walk began at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and ended at First United Methodist Church. At each of the 14 stations, a prayer was said and one of those participating volunteered to carry the cross.

The event began at noon with a worship service led by Father Paul Connolly of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and Rev. Mark Youngquist of Swedesburg Evangelical Lutheran Church. After the worship service, those who were able to walk continued outside for a walk through the 14 stations. A service continued inside the church for those unable to participate in the outdoor event.

Fr. Connolly recently joined the parish in June and was participating for the first time. He was pleased with the large turnout and spoke amicably about the importance and impact of the walk. He went on to say the walk has a deeper meaning for each individual person and serves as a self devotion. “We all have our own crosses,” he said.

The stations of the cross is a 14 step devotion practiced during the Lenten season. Each station represents a different time in the life of Jesus. Patrons visit or view each station and read passages that correspond. In most churches the stations are represented through images or statues.

As the congregation stood to meet outside, one participant in particular, participated by accident. Gerri Weber, of Mt. Pleasant, is a member of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and arrived that morning intending to participate in the stations. She had no idea the day’s event would be carried on outside but when the crowd got up to go outside, she followed. It was not until they began walking that she realized where they were going. “This is new to me,” she said. I’m just so surprised we’re doing this. I think it’s very nice.”

Many families participated this year, with children too small to walk being pushed in strollers. Others volunteered to read, carry the cross and joined in group led scripture reading. Joe and Kelley Tansey and their daughter, Katherine, were among the families participating this year. As members of St. Alhponsus, this was their first time participating in the walk. Joe volunteered to carry the cross and lead the group at a station as did his daughter.

“It’s a great way to live your faith. I think it’s a great way to honor Good Friday,” he said.

The participants walked from various locations around Mt. Pleasant including the fire station, the park, the theater and ended in the courtyard of First United Methodist Church.

Dan Spray, a member of Community of Christ Church, pulled a speaker and microphone so the reader could be heard by all in the group. He has been participating since 2005 and was very pleased with this year’s turnout.

“I think this one is the best I’ve attended because of the participation of the youth,” he said.

The walk is sponsored by the Henry County Ministers Association and has been ongoing for over 10 years. The locations have been established over the past years and remain the same. All ages are welcome to participate and they encourage the community to join.

Pastor Youngquist has been participating for the last five years and appreciates the opportunity for outreach by carrying the cross. “A lot of people don’t know what we’re doing,” he said. For him, the ability to walk around the community and allow individuals of all backgrounds to celebrate together is most important. “I like that we’re all doing this as a community of churches.”

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