On Good Friday, several Homewood churches will come together for their Easter tradition: the Way of the Cross.
The Way of the Cross is in its 23rd year, Edgewood Presbyterian Rev. Joe Genau said. Members from the participating churches meet at Central Park and walk down Oxmoor Road, led by an 8-foot wooden cross. There are eight stations along the way where the crowd stops for scripture readings and prayers, before a new person picks up the cross to carry it to the next station.
The Way of the Cross ends at Edgewood Presbyterian, where the crowd sings the hymn “Were You There?” to close the hour-long procession.
Genau said each church chooses a member each year to carry the cross through one leg of the journey. It’s a heavy burden to carry, as the cross is made out of landscaping timber, and it carries a lot of spiritual significance.
“They’ve all found it to be deeply meaningful and spiritually powerful for them,” Genau said of the members chosen to carry the cross in the past.
This year’s procession will be especially somber. The original creator of the cross, Edgewood Presbyterian member Ken Smith, died in September 2016 at age 64. In addition to building the cross, he had carried it several years. “Thinking of him this year will be an added layer of emotion,” Genau said.
The participating churches include All Saints Episcopal, Bethel AME, Dawson Family of Faith, Edgewood Presbyterian, Friendship Baptist, Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian, Raleigh Avenue Baptist, Second Presbyterian, Shades Valley Lutheran, Trinity United Methodist and Union Missionary Baptist.
“I think there’s something special about this group of churches coming together and doing the same liturgy every year. We don’t often get to worship together like this,” Genau said.
The Way of the Cross begins at Central Park at 2 p.m. on April 14, and the processional lasts about an hour.
Edgewood Presbyterian will open its sanctuary at 2 p.m. for those who want to be part of the closing service but do not want to participate in the walk.