With jackets unzipped, squinting into a bright sun, a large crowd stood in CanalPort Park on Good Friday as Steve Cook, lead pastor at the Living Water Church in Morris, delivered a mini-sermon.
“As you walk today, consider the journey of Christ,” he said.
Attendees of the fourth annual Ecumenical Walk with the Cross Friday did just that as they walked from sermon-to-sermon, carrying a tall heavy cross the whole way.
Andrew Chalebek was the first to carry the cross.
He brought it from the Christian Youth Center, the first stop on the walk, to CanalPort Park.
“As you walk, it gets heavier,” Chalebek said. “But it symbolizes all that he had to go through.”
It was Chalebek’s third year participating, and he was pleased with the turnout.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s very encouraging to see so many people out here.”
Some of those present were newcomers to the event, like Morris resident Ruth Crum, who took off work Friday to attend.
“I have never done it before, but I thought it was high time to start,” Crum said. “It’s just a great way to get involved.”
Others, like Morris resident Ray Mitchell, have attended before and came again because, he said, it’s special that this event occurs in Morris.
“It’s very heartfelt,” said Mitchell, who attended for the third time. “It’s great that so many people come out, but the really important thing is the message.”
That message is conveyed in mini-sermons by area priests and pastors and even in song, as it was at the Christian Youth Center.
The Roether family, of Morris, attended for the first time. And according to Mitch Roether, it was a good family event to start the holiday weekend.
“It’s a time to remember what Easter’s all about,” he said.