Cross Walk commemorates Jesus’ final steps

BROWNSTOWN — A group of people has been seen walking around Brownstown with a cross to celebrate the week of Easter.

The Brownstown Area Ministerial Association organizes the daily Cross Walk to commemorate Jesus’ final steps each year during Holy Week.

Starting at Brownstown Church of the Nazarene at noon Monday, those attending the service carried or walked along with a cross to Brownstown United Methodist Church, where it was left overnight Monday.

At noon Tuesday, the Cross Walk went from the Methodist church to Brownstown Presbyterian Church.

Each day before the walk begins, there is a short devotional and prayer.

The Rev. J.C. Blankenbeker, pastor of Brownstown Presbyterian Church, led the devotional before Tuesday’s Cross Walk set off.

He said he has enjoyed participating in the Cross Walk in recent years.

“Being new to the community, it has been fun being involved in it the last couple of years, and I think it’s a good thing to do during Holy Week to remember each day and the steps Jesus took,” Blankenbeker said.

He read from Luke 20 and said there were three key points to take away from Holy Tuesday in the Bible: Jesus will be resurrected and it’s coming; the Messiah is God’s son, not David’s son; and Jesus was attacking the hypocrisy of religious leaders who were trying to silence him.

“As we enter and go into the remaining part of this Holy Week, let us also remember that we are to remain humble and meek before God,” Blankenbeker said. “We need to repent when we believe we are achieving holiness on our own.”

Eighth-grader Matthew Lichtley, who participated in the Cross Walk for the second year, said he carried the cross because he believes Jesus carried the cross and suffered.

He said he was reminded of the pain Jesus endured by carrying the cross.

“I’m complaining right now about how this is heavy, and then I just think about how big that cross was that he carried,” Lichtley said.

Travis Stockelman, a youth minister for Brownstown Church of the Nazarene, said he had never carried a cross before and thought about Jesus’ life while he took his turn carrying it Tuesday.

“Just the fact that he had been flogged right before,” he said. “It had to have been tough to begin with having just been beaten in a way that in Roman times could’ve killed someone and then of course to carry a cross.”

Ivalene Kindred helped carry the cross and wore a sign that said “Repent” on the front and “He is coming” on the back.

She said she moved to Brownstown in October and found it to be a very peaceful town.

When she carried the cross, Kindred said she felt honored, and it was like she was putting herself in Jesus’ shoes.

“Think of all of the people shouting ‘Crucify him, crucify him,’” she said. “He had to have known in advance the rejection. Would we die for someone that is hurting us? I don’t think so.”

On Wednesday, the Cross Walk continued to Brownstown Christian Church, and today it will be taken to Heritage Park. That’s where it will remain until a Good Friday service at 6 p.m. Friday. The service will happen rain or shine.

The Brownstown Area Ministerial Association is comprised of all of the ministers of the churches in Jackson County. The association’s function is to maintain a working relationship with the churches in the community.

Another purpose of the group is maintaining the community food pantry located at Brownstown Church of the Nazarene.

The group is collecting an offering at the Good Friday service as well as the community Thanksgiving service in November to help stock and maintain the grocery supply.

If churches or individuals are interested in making monetary donations, they may do so by making a check payable to the association and sending it to Brownstown Church of the Nazarene.

The public is welcome to attend the Cross Walk or the community Good Friday service.

It is requested that everyone maintain good health by use of masks and social distancing for each event.

Matthew Lichtley, left, and Ivalene Kindred carry a cross on Elm Street in Brownstown for the Cross Walk.

Mitchell Banks | The Tribune

A group carries and follows a cross on Elm Street in Brownstown on Tuesday during the annual Cross Walk, which is held during Holy Week.

Mitchell Banks | The Tribune

Ivalene Kindred holds a sign that says “Repent” in front of Brownstown United Methodist Church for this year’s Cross Walk.

Mitchell Banks | The Tribune

Matthew Lichtley carries a cross on Tuesday on the front lawn of Brownstown Presbyterian Church.

Mitchell Banks | The Tribune

The Rev. J.C. Blankenbeker, pastor of Brownstown Presbyterian Church, gives a devotional in front of Brownstown United Methodist Church at the start of Tuesday’s Cross Walk.

Mitchell Banks | The Tribune