Annual Cross Walk taking place this week in Brownstown


BROWNSTOWN — For several years, the Brownstown Area Ministerial Association has coordinated the annual Cross Walk during the week leading up to Easter.

A large wooden cross is carried along the streets from one church to the other.

This year, though, organizer Doug Pogue, associate pastor of Brownstown Christian Church, said one change was made.

The walk each day would stop at places of significance in the community.

On Monday, it started from the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse and traveled to Brownstown Church of the Nazarene, where the association’s food pantry is located.

On Tuesday, the cross was carried from there to the corner of Elm and Bridge streets near the community’s schools.

Today, the walk will go from that intersection to Hoosier Christian Village.

Finally, on Thursday, it will go from the senior living facility to the pavilion at Heritage Park just north of the courthouse, where the community is invited to a Good Friday worship service at 6 p.m. Friday.

The first day of the Cross Walk drew 13 participants, and Pogue was happy with the change made this year. Fellow pastor J.C. Blankenbeker of Brownstown Presbyterian Church expressed his agreement.

“I for one appreciate that we’re doing it at community locations this year,” Blankenbeker said.

The only other time he had a chance to be part of a Cross Walk was while he was a student pastor in Jeffersonville, where they walked to the courthouse, county jail and other locations in that Clark County city.

“I think it’s great,” Blankenbeker said.

Each day this week, the Cross Walk starts at noon. Anyone is welcome to join, and people take turns carrying the cross. A short devotion and prayer mark the conclusion each day.

On Monday, holding up the cross while standing on the steps of the courthouse, Pogue offered a word of prayer.

“May we be a witness and a testimony to those that we have the privilege to be seen by,” he said. “Not that we’re here to be seen, but, Lord, that we’re here to honor you and the sacrifice that you made on our behalf. So bless us, father. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Pogue and Brownstown resident Angie VonFange were the first ones to carry the cross from the courthouse to West Walnut Street.

VonFange said she participated in last year’s Cross Walk, too, carrying the front part of the cross. This year, she carried the back of the cross.

So what brought her out both years? “Faith,” she said.

“It was humbling to think that Jesus did this for us,” she said. “It helps people to think about what Jesus did, what Jesus went through.”

As the group reached Bloomington Road, Blankenbeker and his wife, Laura, took their turn carrying the cross up to Stout Street, where VonFange and Freetown Church of Christ Pastor Barry DeWitt carried it to the final stop in front of the Nazarene church.

There, Pogue and DeWitt draped a black cloth over the cross as it was placed in concrete blocks, and Pogue shared some thoughts about the cross.

“It was an object of scorn. It was an object of ridicule,” he said. “When you think about what Jesus went through, it was very much a public display of anger, of frustration, of wrongdoing, a source of power by a government that was overwhelming.”

That’s kind of like the things we face today, he said.

“I think that being in a community setting like this, having the opportunity to do this in a smaller community like Brownstown becomes a tremendous witness, and I’m thankful for that opportunity, thankful for the Lord that he cleared the skies today and we could have this,” Pogue said.

He also shared information about the association’s community food pantry, which serves people from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.

“They are given a healthy box of food and sometimes some meat if we have it, sometimes eggs when we have it. It’s a great source of opportunity to many people in our community,” Pogue said. “Jesus did that, ministered to the community as he walked around, so as we gather here today, let’s gather in the spirit of the cross, and let’s gather in the spirit of the sacrifice that was made for us.”

The opening day ended with a closing prayer from DeWitt, and he, too, focused on the cross and food pantry.

“We thank you so much for the cross of Calvary, father. We thank you that the innocent died for the guilty and that while we were still sinners, your son, Jesus, died for us,” he said. “Father, we thank you so much that it really wasn’t the nails that held him there. Yes, it fastened him to the cross, but it was his love for us that held him there, and we thank you for it.”

He wanted the participants to walk away realizing Jesus indeed gave his life for all people.

“Father, the truth is we have to follow what the word of God says for us to be able to identify with that gift, to believe in those things, Lord, and we thank you for it,” DeWitt said.

He then prayed for God to be with the churches represented in the Cross Walk and even those not represented as they provide ministry in the community, including the food pantry.

“I pray that you bless all the believers in this community, and father, I pray that you bless this food pantry,” he said. “They are meeting a very real need that people have, and it seems to be escalating in our culture and in our communities. So, father, thank you for them, thank you for those who sacrifice to make that possible and who work hard to make it happen.”

For the remainder of Holy Week, DeWitt prayed for people’s thoughts to be on Jesus and God.

For the Good Friday service, attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs. In the event of rain, it will be held with everyone on the pavilion platform. An offering will be collected to help stock and maintain the grocery supply for the food pantry.

At a glance 

Today, the Cross Walk will begin at the corner of Elm and Walnut streets in Brownstown and end at Hoosier Christian Village on South Sugar Street, where participants will pray for the elderly and those who care for them.

On Thursday, the final day of the walk will begin at Hoosier Christian Village and conclude in front of the pavilion at Heritage Park on the north side of the courthouse.

On Friday, the community is invited to a Good Friday worship service at 6 p.m. at Heritage Park. It will be an outside event, and the community is invited to bring lawn chairs. In the event of rain, it will be held with everyone on the pavilion platform.

The annual walk and Good Friday service are organized by the Brownstown Area Ministerial Association, which is made up of all of the ministers of the local churches of Jackson County. Its primary function is that of maintaining a working relationship with all of the churches in the community. The secondary emphasis of the group is that of maintaining the community food pantry at Brownstown Church of the Nazarene.

If churches or individuals are interested in making monetary donations, they may do so by making a check payable to BAMA and sending it to Brownstown Church of the Nazarene, 616 W. Commerce St., Brownstown, IN 47220.

For information, contact Doug Poque at Brownstown Christian Church at 812-358-4172.

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