Carrying a cross



The sky was clear and blue at noon Tuesday, and the sun was shining.

It was a little windy, but it didn’t stop 13 people from gathering to reflect on the reason Easter is celebrated each year.

Brownstown Area Ministerial Association once again organized the Cross Walk this week, giving people a chance to carry a wooden cross along the streets of Brownstown while going from one church to another each day.

It started Monday at the Jackson County Courthouse and ended at Brownstown United Methodist Church. Then Tuesday, the cross was carried from the Methodist church to Brownstown Presbyterian Church.

On Wednesday, the cross was carried from the Presbyterian church to Brownstown Church of the Nazarene. Today, it will go from the Nazarene church to Brownstown Christian Church.

On Friday, the cross will be carried into the Christian church, where a Good Friday service will be conducted at noon. The Holy Week celebration will conclude Sunday with a sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. at Brownstown First Baptist Church.

For those who had the opportunity to help carry the cross, it was a special moment.

“It was really good to be close to that, to think about Jesus doing that and just feeling that. It was really neat,” Diana Spray of Medora said. “I really liked that feeling of being able to participate in what he did for us.”

Spray’s sister, Phyllis Loper of Freetown, said she liked being a part of the event for the first time last year, and she had to do it again.

“I felt like the crowd following the cross,” she said. “The crowd followed the cross and grieved for the fact that Jesus was dying.”

Theresa Gabaree of Brownstown also carried the cross during Tuesday’s walk. This was her first time participating in the Brownstown Cross Walk, but she has been a part of similar events in other towns.

“For me, it just brings home the real, true meaning of why we celebrate Easter,” she said. “I just kind of felt like I was a part of all of those years ago. It makes it more real. It’s teaching people what it’s about, and not just teaching them, but showing an example and showing that we want to stand up and recognize why we celebrate this holiday.”

Doug Pogue, associate minister of Brownstown Christian Church, organized this year’s Cross Walk. It has been conducted in town for about 20 years.

Pogue, who has been a part of the event for 10 years, said the leadership of local clergy has kept it going.

“One of the things that has been strong about our ministerial association in the community is the fact that we have a lot of inner working together,” he said.

That includes a community food bank housed at the Nazarene church and ministers gathering for weekly morning meetings and monthly meetings that include a meal, study, prayer and time together.

“I think as the leadership goes, so go the people, so that’s an important part,” Pogue said.

In the past, Pogue remembers as many as 50 people gathering for the walk through town. This year’s attendance was down a little with Brownstown schools being on spring break.

This was Pogue’s first year being in charge of the event.

With a background in music, he chose to pick a different hymn each day, which focused on the sacrifice that Jesus made. Along the route each day, the group stopped a couple of times to recite part of a hymn.

Each walk took about 30 minutes, and people rotated carrying the cross. The wooden cross only weighs 10 pounds, but the one Jesus had to carry on the way to his own death on the cross was nearly 10 times heavier, Pogue said.

A red cloth is draped around the center of the cross. It’s referred to by some as a shroud.

“The cloth, when a body was taken down off of the cross, would have been wrapped around the front and under the arms and actually would have been much longer than that. It may have actually been ropes,” Pogue said. “It was used to let the body down so that it could be handled either by family or soldiers that would have been at the base of the cross.”

The cloth used in the Brownstown Cross Walk has been around for a while and now is faded.

“Actually, it gives a more realistic look of what blood might be like on a piece of cloth like that because people would have been terribly bloodied and battered,” he said.

Pogue said he likes seeing people from local churches participate in the annual Cross Walk.

“For me, it’s just being able to see people from different churches come together and have something in common that they can participate in,” he said. “This is all about being able to have a witness and testimony in our community through an act of carrying a simple piece of wood.”

He hopes it was an experience to remember for the participants.

“Just being able to touch a piece of wood that’s rough is significant,” he said. “Just the idea of people being able to get together to do something in a sense of commonality and unity is important. But also walking and being able to experience the struggle and the stress of carrying a cross.”

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The Brownstown Area Ministerial Association has conducted the annual Cross Walk this week.

Each day, a group of people meets at noon and carries a large wooden cross from one church to another. The walk takes about 30 minutes and includes prayer and devotional thoughts.

It started Monday on the Jackson County Courthouse steps and has gone to Brownstown United Methodist Church, Brownstown Presbyterian Church and Brownstown Church of the Nazarene. Today, it will be carried from the Nazarene church to Brownstown Christian Church.

On Friday, the community is invited to the Christian church for the annual Good Friday service. It begins at noon and will include scripture, music, prayer and a message presented by one of the local pastors.

Then Sunday, a community Easter sunrise service will be at 6:30 a.m. at Brownstown First Baptist Church followed by breakfast at the Christian church.

For information about any of these events, call 812-358-4172.


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