Many Johnstown residents – and others – will get together at noon Good Friday, April 14, to begin a journey within the village that’s meant to symbolize Jesus Christ’s final hours on earth.
The Way of the Cross event is open to the public and will begin at the Johnstown village offices, 599 S. Main St., with Jim Lenner leading an opening prayer and comments.
“The event is a time to connect with one another by bringing those of different faiths together for a two-hour walk,” said Lenner, Johnstown’s village manager and planner. “I have even met people during the walk that aren’t even from the community but love to participate in this tradition.”
Lenner said this type of remembrance isn’t found in every community.
“Johnstown continues to maintain a small-town feel even though we are experiencing significant growth,” he said.
The Rev. Dan McLaughlin, pastor of Faith Fellowship Church, said the walk takes participants to 13 spots on and off Main Street that are meant to symbolize Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and burial.
“(It) all prepares us to celebrate His glorious resurrection on Sunday in churches throughout our community,” McLaughlin said. “I am so encouraged by the faith community in Johnstown. We all have different congregations and worship in slightly different manners, but one thing is true among all of the churches and pastors of our community: We all love Jesus and proclaim His name as our savior and deliverer from the stain of sin.”
McLaughlin, a participating pastor in the event, said the Way of the Cross is a time of personal reflection for those who participate.
“For those who choose to be carriers of the cross, there is an additional humbling as you represent the one who also came along side of our Savior to help carry His cross on that fateful day,” he said.
Participants take turns carrying a large wooden cross at the stops that begin and end at the village offices, with singing and reflection in between at Resurrection Catholic Church (two stops); Johnstown Baptist Church (two stops); Youth For Christ (two stops); Johnstown United Methodist Church (two stops); Johnstown Presbyterian Church (two stops); Faith Fellowship Church offices; the Monroe Township Division of Fire and the village square and gazebo.
“As we walk the road and as we sing together and reflect as readers lead us in thought, it all points us to the resurrection Sunday that we will all share in our different congregations, declaring with joy that He is alive,” McLaughlin said.