Way of the Cross

Worshippers taking part in a Way of the Cross service Friday slowly made their way down the sidewalk along Central Avenue.

They stopped about every half a block to pray, to sing, to stand in silence – in devotion – at each of the 14 stations of the cross.

They took turns carrying a large wooden cross.

When they moved from place to place, they walked in silence.

The only noise was the soft shuffle of shoes – and the scraping of a heavy piece of wood on the concrete.

Jim McColley, of Fort Dodge, was among the worshippers.

He carried the cross.

“It makes me feel more like I’m there,” he said. “It bears to mind what he went through.”

While downtown Fort Dodge is a long way and many centuries from the Holy Land, McColley said the experience helped him visualize what happened.

“I can imagine being a witness,” he said, “and not having courage enough to do something. It humbles me.”

Chuck and Leslie Reetz, of Fort Dodge, carried the cross too.

The experience enhanced their faith, they said.

“He carried the cross the longest,” Leslie Reetz said. “It gives you a little look at the burden of Christ.”

For Chuck Reetz, it served as a reminder that inconveniences in daily life are really not as important as they might seem.

“This is not the time to complain,” he said. “Just think of what he went through.”

About 50 people took part in the service. It was organized by a group of Fort Dodge ministers that include the Rev. Matthew Martens, of Grace Lutheran Church; the Rev. Joey Feldman, of First Congregational United Church of Christ; the Rev. Anita Johnson, director of spiritual care at Friendship Haven; and the Rev. Carroll Lang, founder of the Church of the Damascus Road prison ministry.

The walk was open to everyone.

Martens explained that the 14 stations along the way tell the story of Easter. They are based on an ecumenical version of the Catholic Stations of the Cross.

He was happy to see members of other churches come together for the event that began at First Baptist Church, 28 N. 10th St. Easter, he said, transcends denominations.

“This is the meaning of Good Friday,” he said. “To be at the cross and know the suffering he went through.”

Martens noticed the silence and the scraping of the cross too.

“It’s really heartfelt,” he said.