A time of contemplation, preparation for Easter

Annual Waynesville Cross Walk is Friday
By Rachel Robles | Apr 11, 2017
Photo by: Carol Viau The Rev. Dr. Robert Prince from Waynesville First Baptist Church carries the cross during the 2013 Cross Walk. The walk is a time to reflect on the suffering of Christ on Good Friday.

With Easter rapidly approaching, members of the community are invited to participate in an annual Good Friday tradition that offers a time of solemn contemplation on the meaning of the holiday.

The annual Good Friday Cross Walk will take place at 10:45 a.m. Friday, April 14. The procession begins at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 305 N. Main St., and ends at First United Methodist Church, located at 566 S. Haywood St.

The Cross Walk is a devotional procession through downtown Waynesville. Participants take turns carrying a large wooden cross, and the procession stops at various points in downtown Waynesville. At those points, participants read Scripture passages that tell of Christ’s suffering and death.

Emily Fleenor, stay-at-home mother of three, participated in the Cross Walk for the first time last year. She brought her children, ages 5, 2 and an infant.

“What I found most powerful about the experience was the time between readings of the Scripture and walking alongside the cross,” she said. “It was a great way to slow down the story we so often tell in a rush to get to the ending.”

Fleenor said that while her children are too young to understand many parts of the Easter story, they know it is about Jesus and what he did because of his love for mankind.

“At this time in their lives, the most important part for them is to see the many different people, some friends and some new faces, who join us in thinking about and honoring Jesus,” she said. “We are united in our love for Christ, and in his love for us.”

Amanda Wells, a teacher at Waynesville Middle School, also brings her children, ages 13, 9 and 8, with her to the Cross Walk.

“I like for my children to understand the true meaning of our Christian tradition holidays,” she said. “Of course we like to do the bunnies, Easter basket, eggs and goodies, but Easter is so much more than all of that for us … I wanted to find a way to make the true meaning of Easter real for my kids and create an Easter tradition that they would remember.”

Wells has been participating in the Cross Walk for a number of years, but her most profound memory was when her son, then 7-years-old, asked to carry the cross.

“It was very emotional to me to see my son carrying one side of this very large and heavy cross, and the fact that he asked to carry the load,” she said. “It made me think about how Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt. Although very different circumstances — my son was not carrying his cross to his death for others — but my young son felt compelled to take on part of the burden of carrying the cross.”

Wels said it’s encouraging to see more families with children participating over the years.

At the end of the procession, Waynesville First United Methodist Church will host a simple lunch.

This year’s participating churches are First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church and Grace Church in the Mountains.