Instead of celebrating Easter with “cute and fuzzy bunnies,” members of at least four area churches will bear a heavy wooden cross from Flatwoods to South Shore as a reminder of the holiday’s significance.
“It is basically a visible way to draw attention to Christ’s last few days and his death,” said Sean Shroll, pastor of South Shore First United Methodist, explaining believers will share the burden of shouldering a massive cross along 26 miles of U.S. 23 starting early in the morning on Good Friday.
The cross, built from 2-by-4s and plywood, along with a bit of paint and putty by Shroll’s father, retired minister John Shroll, weighs more than 50 pounds.
“I think it looks intimidating,” Shroll said with a chuckle, noting the crossbar is 8 feet long and the main span measures 14 feet. The length of the cross actually makes it a little easier to move than smaller crosses, Shroll said, explaining the angle on the back end makes a big difference. “It is heavy, but with the back end dragging it makes it a lot easier. By the time they get done, the back end of it is shaved down pretty good.”
Shroll said his dad, who served as pastor at Greenup United Methodist until a few years ago, has experience with cross walks including a 20-mile journey along Ky. 80 through Hindman.
“This is one of the longest ones. We will start around 7 a.m. and expect to get done ... maybe by 4 p.m. We don’t expect anyone to do the whole 26 miles,” Shroll said, explaining organizers wanted to cover as much of the county as possible and will use teams of relay drivers to transport cross walkers to and from spots along the route from Diederich Boulevard to the South Shore church. The pastor said anyone passing by who wants to get involved will also be welcomed.
“We have had people drive by and decide they wanted to walk along. If people wanted to come out and carry it for a while, we’d be open to that,” he said, noting at least 30 from the church in South Shore will be joined by members of Advance Memorial United Methodist, Sunshine United Methodist, Melrose United Methodist and possibly Argillite United Methodist.
Many other churches in the area have special presentations and events planned for Easter.
Pastor James “Butch” Crum at Hilltop Christian Baptist Church, 713 Wheatley Road in Westwood, said members were preparing for their 19th annual “Outdoor Passion Play,” which began at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
“We get a good reaction to it,” Crum said Monday afternoon. “It is outdoors and that appeals to many. People that won’t come inside of a church will come to this.”
The passion play will continue nightly through Sunday, Crum said.
Three Pines Freewill Baptist Church on Three Pines Road, just off of U.S. 60 at Olive Hill, will present “Through Peter’s Eyes” at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
Temple Baptist Church at 124 Reid St. in Flatwoods will present the Easter drama “Changed by Grace” at 7 p.m. Friday.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.