Way of the Cross

Fort Dodge ministers are offering a hands-on way to experience Easter this year for all denominations.

Worshippers in the Way of the Cross Good Friday service will follow a large wooden cross in a procession down Central Avenue. The service will begin at noon at First Baptist Church, 28 N. 10th St., and end up at the plaza at Central Avenue and Ninth Street.

The service should take about an hour.

The Rev. Matthew Martens, of Grace Lutheran Church, said he hopes people will get “A sense of the real meaning of the day for us, of Good Friday. By making a public witness, we’re saying this is, for us, what good Friday is all about.”

“There’s an element of worship that is movement,” said the Rev. Anita Johnson, director of spiritual care at Friendship Haven. “We’re moving, we’re walking in the footsteps of Jesus, and that can be a very spiritual experience.”

“It’s not just walking the footsteps of Jesus, but the experience of literally carrying a cross,” said the Rev. Joey Feldmann, of First Congregational United Church of Christ.

“Everyone that comes who wants to will get a chance to carry the cross for a small portion of the walk,” Feldmann said. “That really helps connect to Jesus in a way that is unique and different from almost any other type of worship in the year.”

“It is heavy,” Martens said.

There will be 14 “stations” along the way where the procession will stop for scripture, prayer and hymn verse. These will tell the story of Easter and are based on an ecumenical version of the Catholic Stations of the Cross.

“Any pastors that come will be invited to be readers. It’s not just supposed to be us four,” Feldmann said.

Feldmann, Martens, Johnson and the Rev. Carroll Lang organized the walk. Lang is the founder of the Church of the Damascus Road prison ministry, and currently works with the after release program.

The idea is to bring the city churches together in a way that hasn’t happened lately, Johnson said.

“We haven’t done things together ecumenically for a while,” she said.

“We wanted to spark the idea of having a community Good Friday service again, because we missed last year,” Martens said.

Feldmann said he hopes the service will be a “spearhead” to more communication and togetherness between the churches.

“If nothing else,” he said, “at least we get this one service during Holy Week – which is the high point of the Christian year – that we’re together, that we can celebrate, and be one in the body of Christ.”