HAGERSTOWN — Kyle Powderly of Hagerstown didn't let the rain stop him from observing Good Friday by participating in "The Way of the Cross: A Walk for Social Justice."
"It's a wonderful experience for me to take seriously what Jesus did for us," said Powderly, who has taken part in the walk for four years. "Jesus came not just to save us, but also to overturn the systems of the world that are set to break people apart."
The "Way of the Cross" is an annual event in the community, one in which people meet at a church and celebrate Good Friday by walking to different areas in Hagerstown, stopping at different spots around the city.
Participants carried signs, and one person carried a cross.
"We feel that prayer is very important in areas with concerns," said Ed Poling, pastor of the Hagerstown Church of the Brethren and coordinator of the event. "So we are going to find places of concern in downtown Hagerstown and find a way to lift that concern."
Poling started the walk more than five years ago when he had heard about a similar event in Nebraska.
"We wanted to do something of a public nature to celebrate Good Friday as a Christian community," he said. "Before this, we had long sermons on Good Friday."
The Hagerstown Area Religious Council sponsors the event. Its current president, Pastor Gregg R. Meserole of Christ's Reformed Church, says the theme this year was putting an end to violence.
"We want to work to decrease if not eliminate violence in our culture," Meserole said. "This year the theme is how can we be a just people working together and united together."
Rebecca Hoover, associate pastor at Christ's Reformed Church, has been doing the walk for two years. She says it's great when churches can reach outside of their walls.
"It's been a fabulous event to put our faith into action and pray with our feet," she said. "People have been honking their horns, waving, and flashing peace signs to us."
The walk started at Christ's Reformed Church on West Franklin Street at 1 p.m. and stopped at seven spots. They were the Hagerstown Rescue Mission, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, the Hagerstown Public Square, the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and Hagerstown City Hall. The last two stops were at the Department of Social Services and the garden at University Plaza. It concluded back at Christ's Reformed Church.
Meserole did not participate in the walk. Instead, he gave a sermon at his church for the people who were not able to make the walk.