Sunday, March 31, 2024

Good Friday Tradition in Gordon Draws Unity Between Community and Churches

In a display of faith and tradition, the Simpson United Methodist Church in Gordon, continued its long-standing Good Friday custom: Jesus Christ's Trek of the Cross. For the 46th consecutive year, parishioners and community members gathered to reenact Jesus's journey to Calvary.

Leading the solemn procession was Jeffrey Nemeth of Frackville, embodying the role of Jesus Christ, bearing a cross weighing approximately 25 pounds, and walking barefoot through the streets of Gordon. The route, spanning from Biddle Street to Hobart Street, then to Mcknight, and back to Biddle Street, evoked the path traditionally believed to have been taken by Jesus on his way to crucifixion. The symbolic journey lasted approximately 45 minutes.

Despite the somber nature of the event, the atmosphere was one of unity and reverence as around 50 individuals, both from the congregation and the borough, followed Nemeth's lead. Upon returning to the Simpson United Methodist Church, attendees gathered for a solemn service commemorating the crucifixion and reflecting on its significance.

This year event grew a little larger, as additional churches lent their support and participation. Pastor Warren Quinn of the Methodist Presbyterian Church in Ashland and Pastor Ron Stump of Oak Grove Brethren Chapel in Pine Grove joined the procession and contributed to the service.

"For us, participating in this event provides the opportunity to bring the good news of the life and resurrection of Jesus to the people of Gordon," remarked Pastor Stump.

The decision to involve neighboring churches stemmed from a desire to extend the event's outreach beyond Simpson United Methodist Church. Pastor Quinn, inspired by media coverage of the event, reached out to Pastor Hocking, expressing his eagerness to participate.

"After seeing the event covered in the media, I felt compelled to be a part of it. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the gospel outside of the church walls," Pastor Quinn affirmed.

The tradition of Jesus Christ's Trek of the Cross was initiated by Elmer Yost nearly 50 years ago with the intention of allowing homebound individuals to witness and partake in the Good Friday service. Pastor Susan Hocking, along with her congregation, has continued this legacy, striving to ensure that the sacrifice of Jesus is not forgotten.

"We want people to see and experience, in some small measure, what Jesus went through for us," remarked Pastor Hocking.

Story and Photos by J. Reed / Skook News