(UNDATED) - Well before sunrise on Friday, April 6, a group of walkers will set out on a journey that will take them from Westview Christian Church, near Campbellsburg, to Pekin United Methodist Church on the east side of the county.
Marcia Walker, of the Salem Leader, reports that for the second year in a row, people from a number of Washington County churches will join forces and take turns carrying a cross as they stage Cross Across the County, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The walk takes place on Good Friday.
"We literally are crossing the county," Steve Gorman, minister at Salem First Baptist Church, said. "It's a little over 17 miles. We will start at 6 a.m. Good Friday at Westview. We have several stops along the way for people to join us."
The cross is approximately eight feet tall and was constructed by Darwin Gilliatt, also with First Baptist Church. Anyone interested is welcome to walk all or part of the route or just come watch. The idea began with Gilliatt.
"He saw this being done somewhere in Harrison County and thought it was really cool," Gorman said, explaining that Gilliat approached him with the idea. "I said 'let's do it' . . . He got on the bandwagon and got a hold of it and off he went. It was much more than what was expected."
People may link up with the procession at several locations along the route. "The first stop coming from Westview will be New Hope United Methodist Church," Steven said. "These are places people can join us or be there to see us."
Other places where people can park to join the walk or simply gather to watch the procession are Arby's in Salem; Southway Villa east of Salem and Motsinger Road.
"Everyone who walks gets a chance to carry the cross, even if it's only 20 feet," Gorman said."
Last year, nine different churches were involved. This year, about 15 have signed on. "It's great to see different churches coming together to promote the event," Gorman said.
Two vans will accompany the group, providing shuttle service. "If someone needs to stop walking and ride, they can do that, or if they need a ride back to their car," Gorman said "There will be transportation to and from vehicles."
Last year, the youngest walker was about 4 the oldest about 80. Several people walked the entire route, 22 miles from Temple Baptist outside Little York to Westview. Matt Gorman was one who walked the 22 miles, setting off before the sun was up.
"We had to go by lamp or flashlight from Temple Baptist Church," Matt Gorman said. "Through the journey, other church groups took the lead. We'd switch off. We got to meet several new faces in the community. Several people were along the roadway, cheering people on."
The procession will arrive at the Methodist church in Pekin in time for the Good Friday service at noon.
"Last year, we timed it so we carried it right up the aisle of the church just as the service started, hopefully, that will be this year too," Steve Gorman said. "It will be a prelude to the service, bringing the cross up the aisle."
There is no need to pre-register although this year, T-shirts are available and anyone who wants a shirt needs to contact Gilliatt in advance at 883-5460.
"It was a really great time last year, a great time," Steve Gorman said. "It was just a wonderful time of fellowship for each other."
Matt Gorman said the walk offers several perspectives, including what it's like to have to travel by foot and that walkers see things that are missed when driving.
"I think the whole moral of story, it's a short period compared to what Jesus walked," Matt Gorman said. "Just to put yourself in his shoes for a brief period of time. You're not going to his death where he was. It puts it in perspective, how fragile life is and not take things for granted anymore."
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