Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 5, 1999
Walking in Christ's footsteps
Sherwood Park Christians raise justice issues on Way of the Cross
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Sherwood Park Christians celebrated Palm Sunday with a prayerful Way of the Cross.
About 100 people, all of them carrying palm branches, participated in the four-km walk as leaders of various Christian denominations took turns carrying a two-metre high wooden cross through the streets.
Participants in the hour-long walk, which started and ended at Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School, made three stops along the way to reflect on social and political issues and to sing hymns.
The walk, a first for Sherwood Park, was sponsored by the Sherwood Park Ecumenical Mission Committee, made up of members of the Anglican, Lutheran, United and Roman Catholic churches.
The Way of the Cross is a demonstration of Christian unity and a way of acknowledging Christ as "our common king," said Father Don Stein, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish.
Participants commit themselves to "carry out Christ's mission to bring peace and love and justice to our people," he said.
The procession began with an opening devotion at the foyer of the school and was led by the cross to three stations, each station led by a different church. Roman Catholics led the opening and closing devotions.
Led by leaders of the Lutheran churches of Strathcona County, the first station at Sherwood Park Nursing Home symbolized Christ's mission to the sick and the needy of the world.
The second station symbolized justice and liberation of the oppressed and poor of the world. "We pray that leaders committed to justice and compassion are elected," said Anglican pastor Rev. Bob Peel, who led the station.
The third station in front of the post office and across the mall symbolized Christ's mission to the crossroads of the world and the struggles people have with consumerism, materialism and imperialism.
"Blessed are the needy who will inherit the kingdom," said station leader and United Church pastor Rev. Michael Chandu. "Blessed are the peacemakers."
The Rev. Mervin Gallant of the United Church used the occasion to call on bankers and political leaders to forgive the debts of the world's poorest countries. "A lot of the countries that owe debt have paid back what they originally borrowed many times over."
Susan Chow took part in the procession to pay tribute to Jesus "who died for us" on the cross.
"That was a great thing he did for us," she said. "His being part of my life has made my life so much more fulfilling."
Red Gough joined the procession to show support for the ecumenical movement. "As a community this brings us together to share Christ, one Christ."
Lorene Thursby agreed. "I think it's very important to have a united presence wherever we live," she said. "Too many people think different denominations can't get along and this shows that we love each other and love Christ, who is our unity."
Organizers said the Way of the Cross may become an annual event.