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Meridian follows in the footsteps
of Jesus Christ

By Staff
CARRYING THE CROSS Shannon Moore, left, and Brandie Heinz trusties at the Lauderdale County jail carry a cross Friday during the 7th Annual Way of the Cross/Way of Peace. The downtown Meridian event commemorates Jesus' walk to his death on Good Friday. Moore and Heinz carried the cross to the second of 13 stops during the walk: The county jail. PHOTO BY KYLE CARTER / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Ida Brown / religion editor
April 10, 2004
As Jesus made his long, traumatic journey to crucifixion thousands of years ago, crowds gathered some in hostility, others in anguish to witness.
Likewise, those who gathered in downtown Meridian on Friday for the 7th Annual Way of the Cross/Way of Peace were there to witness their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The Good Friday event a two-mile journey that includes 13 stations or stops at downtown churches and other locations began at 11 a.m. on the west side of the Lauderdale County Courthouse.
Beginning with songs led by the St. John Missionary Baptist Church Choir, the program also included a welcome by the Rev. Elvin Sunds, pastor of St. Patrick and St. Joseph's Catholic churches, and an opening prayer by the Rev. Jimmy Johnson, pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church.
Afterwards, a new addition to the event, "The Agony in the Garden," was presented followed by Jesus' arrest and sentence to death. Walkers then traveled to the Lauderdale County Detention Facility, where members of the prison's New Birth Choir stood outside the gate and performed.
Following the presentation, a man portraying Jesus accepted his cross and embarked on a journey that included stops at various locations which featured music, readings and dramatic presentations.
The walk included re-enactments of Jesus falling, being stripped of his garments, being nailed to the cross and dying. The even culminated at Dumont City Park, representing Jesus being laid in the tomb.
As they traveled from station to station, the participants sang, prayed together and testified. Several individuals and groups took turns carrying the cross. At each station, the numbers gathered increased.
People of all races, ages and faiths were drawn to the annual ecumenical witness of faith.
In recent years, the walk has attracted more young people.
Fourteen-year-old Molley Scarbrough, a newcomer to the walk, said she was moved to participate after seeing the Mel Gibson movie "The Passion of The Christ."