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Annual Good Friday Walk largest turnout yet at event

March 29, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK | holly.shok@herald-mail.com
  • Susie Wright carries the cross beside her grandaughter, Rayana Ford, around the lake at City Park during the Hagerstown Good Friday Cross Walk.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The Rev. Ed Poling had his concerns when he arrived at Hagerstown’s City Park on Friday afternoon and saw fire engines parked near the lake, threatening to interfere with his plans.

But by the time the annual Good Friday Walk began, the trucks had cleared and about 100 area Christians accounted for the largest turnout yet at the event that for the first time this year circled City Park’s lakes.

“Moving” is what Diane Mowen called the two-hour walk that navigated 14 stops to represent the 14 stations of the cross, which symbolize Jesus Christ carrying the cross to his crucifixion.

“Renewing of our faith in regard to reliving the moment,” Mowen, 49, said of why she and her husband, of Greencastle, Pa., attended.

Fourteen volunteers took turns shouldering a large wooden cross as the assemblage moved from station to station.

At each stop a speaker belonging to a Tri-State area church offered a fictional monologue, which served to “juxtapose” contemporary scenarios with “Christ’s suffering and death,” Poling said.

At station seven, where Jesus is depicted falling for the second time on his way to his crucifixion, Hagerstown resident Karla Davis, 66, utilized a fictional struggle with polio to speak on experiences falling.

Davis, a parishioner of St. John’s Episcopal Church, stayed in character, relying on a walker for the event’s duration.

The walk was sponsored by the Hagerstown Area Religious Council, a coordinator of the area’s faith-based affiliates.

Poling, of Hagerstown Church of the Brethren and this year’s event coordinator, said the walk typically has occurred downtown.

This year’s City Park venue is “such a quiet meditative place with the lake and the natural world,” Poling said. “The story of Christ’s passion has a lot of resonance with the natural world and life and death, and this is the place you see it happening.”

The walk drew individuals of all ages. Some children situated themselves on tree branches and quietly listened to the day’s speaker, liturgist Rev. David Baker, of Meritus Spiritual Care Department.

Lisa Amaya, 29, and her 6-year-old daughter, Ella, were visiting from Chicago on Friday.

Amaya, whose family lives locally, couldn’t resist being a part of the day’s scenery when she heard of the event through her mother’s church.

“Busy schedule — it’s nice to stop and remember why we celebrate the holidays,” Amaya said.

Joe Scheerer, 70, of Hagerstown, said he has participated in the walk a number of times.

“It’s a time for recollection, it’s a time for peace and it’s a time for demonstration of belief.”

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