Saturday, April 3, 2021

Good Friday Tradition "Trek of the Cross" Held in Gordon

A Good Friday tradition continued Friday in the borough of Gordon when the Simpson United Methodist Church held the "Trek of the Cross".

While walking barefoot and wearing a crown of thorns, Jeffrey Nemeth, of Frackville, portrayed Jesus Christ as he carried the cross through the streets of the borough.

The annual tradition began in 1979 making this the 43rd year of the event which began when Nemeth's great uncle, Elmer Yost, portrayed Jesus.

Yost started the tradition with the goal of doing it 12 years in recognition of the 12 disciples, but was only able to do it 11 after passing away in 1989.

Yost's wife, Rose, who still attends the event each year says her husband was all about symbolism.  Rose said he husband chose Gordon for the way the churches were laid out in the shape of the cross in the borough.   "Jesus would actually walk the cross" Rose said.

In 1990, Elmer's nephew, Edward Labie took over the tradition of portraying Jesus.  Labie said it only felt right because he was 33 years old at the time, the same age Jesus was.  Labie portrayed Jesus for almost 20 years until Nemeth took over.

The "trek" began in front of the Simpson United Methodist Church on Biddle Street and traveled down Biddle Street and back up McKnight Street back to the church, all while barefoot.  Church parishioners and borough members followed along behind.

Nina Kramer portrayed a mourner while Bryce Kyle, of Gordon, and Jacob Sachleben, of Girardville, portrayed the soldiers.

Nemeth says he will portray Jesus for a few more years until his son is old enough, then he will take over.

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