Hundreds of Christians filled the streets of downtown Brockville, Ont., to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Each Good Friday, Bethel Christian Reformed Church joins area churches in a Community Walk with the Cross, stopping outside various downtown churches and municipal spaces such as City Hall and the Brockville Art Centre. The Walk has taken place for over 15 years and involves 11 churches organized by the local ministerial organization. Local police provide traffic control.
At each of this year's 11 stops, part of the cross was built—from assembling the beams to adding the crown of thorns, spikes, and other key objects mentioned in Scripture. The walk included a narrative of the Passion story and a time of responsive prayer as printed in the distributed programs. Bethel CRC's Pastor Jack Van de Hoef, also chair of the Brockville Ministerial, hung the sign "King of the Jews" onto the cross. After the prayer, members of the church, young and old, carried the cross to the Cenotaph. There another church took its turn with readings and carrying the cross.
"We are a small community, so it is so nice to get together as churches," said Bea Wallace, a member at Bethel CRC who did one of the Scripture readings.
As there were many people gathered and traveling throughout the city streets, the walk offered Christians a chance to demonstrate their unity to onlookers. "It's a real blessing for our churches, but it is a true witness to our community," said Wallace.
At the final stop, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Brockville, the cross was carried into the church. Walkers gathered inside for a time of worship including a drama and music led by a blended choir of the Brockville churches.
But Good Friday wasn't where the connection ended. Early on Easter morning, participants gathered at the edge of St. Lawrence River in Brockville for a short sunrise service before their regular worship services. Participating churches also have a weekly schedule to pray a specific local church each Sunday.