Bearing a cross for Christ, justice

April 06, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

Today being Good Friday, several Christians from through-out the area are gathering in Hagerstown this afternoon to carry a wooden cross in the manner of Jesus Christ.

And, in the manner of connecting the passion of Christ to the ongoing suffering in the world, the group will visit seven places that still speak to such problems, said the Rev. Rick Jewell.

While still relatively new in town, Jewell was a natural to help organize today's Good Friday Walk for Social Justice in Hagerstown.

"I coordinated one in Cumberland (Md.) for the past 14 years," said Jewell, who has been ministering at John Wesley United Methodist Church since July.


Ed Poling, pastor of the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, worked with Jewell picking the sites for The Way of the Cross.

The walk is to last from 1 to 2:30 p.m., beginning and ending at Poling's church at the corner of East Washington Street and Mulberry Avenue.

Simultaneously, for those who are not able to walk the 2.1-mile, cross-shaped route, the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren sanctuary will be open for prayer and meditation during the event, Poling said.

"We're trusting that people will show up," Jewell said of both events.

The walk's stops include Hagerstown Public Square ... for religious tolerance, where the history of Jesus' arrest will be described - his only crime was challenging religious authority.

Following a song, the group will walk to Jonathan Street to the site of the former Washington County jail and a reported slave auction location. There, the group will learn of racial harmony couched in the story of Judas.

The next stop will be the Hagerstown Refugee Resettlement Center ... for hope, care and justice for immigrants. The group's headquarters is on Prospect Street, where Goodwill was formerly located. There, the golden rule will be a central theme.

At REACH, 140 W. Franklin St., the needs of the homeless and hungry will be addressed. At the Walnut Street Health Clinic, scripture about Jesus dying on the cross will be read and considered along with modern health needs.

The sixth stop at CASA on Baltimore Street addresses stability and peace in the home. The final stop, before returning to the Church of the Brethren, is the Mount Hope Prison Ministry for the imprisoned, as Jesus was in the tomb.

"It's a witness to the community," Jewell said of the walk. "We're hoping to trigger that there is something very special about the day."

The Rev. Steve Robison, president of the Hagerstown Area Religious Council - formerly the Washington County Council of Churches - will lead the walkers in the opening and closing prayers.

The vigil for those not walking the route will feature the same liturgy and will be conducted by Angie Scheerer, who wrote much of the text for the cross walk.

Gwen Skrabak and Ken Hawes were also on the organizing committee.

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