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Faithful recall Christ's journey through Good Friday walk

| Saturday, March 30, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
North Huntingdon Township resident Mike Stark, a church council member at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, carries the cross along Main Street as more than 100 faithful walk to the First Presbyterian Church of Irwin.

More than 100 Norwin area residents gathered for Irwin's annual Good Friday Walk of the Cross.

“It's encouraging, but solemn,” said Richard Boscia of North Huntingdon Township and member of Murrysville Alliance Church.

“It's humbling,” Ardara United Presbyterian Church member Fred Bright said. “It makes you appreciate what Jesus did for us.”

The first of the six stop walk was at the First United Church of Christ.

The Norwin Ministerium tackled the theme of “Via Dolorosa,” or “Way of Sorrows,” the route Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem, en route to his death on Calvary and resurrection.

“I hope and pray it will be a very meaningful journey for you,” said the Rev. Nancy Mears, pastor of First United Church of Christ.

Irwin's walk was one of two in the Mon-Yough area. Another was took place along McKeesport's Fifth Avenue by Kiesell Christian Rehabilitation Center.

Six pastors, all from North Huntingdon, took the pulpits near Irwin's Main Street.

“We begin with the moment when Jesus was arrested,” said the Rev. Nick Poole, pastor of Calvary Assembly of God, at First United Church of Christ.

“It set in motion events that would change the world,” Poole said. “Jesus was the true expression of God's love to you.”

The Calvary pastor focused on the question “Who is it you want?” that Jesus asked those arresting him.

“Our religious practices and our religious ritual are completely empty if we do not know who we want,” Poole said. “We all search for something. Ultimately the search for the divine will impact all other searches.”

“Trials and denials” were tackled at Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity and The First Presbyterian Church.

“Denials” included what Peter said three times when asked if he was a follower of Jesus. “Trials” faced Jesus before corrupt authorities, said the Rev. Ray Lyon, pastor of Circleville United Methodist Church.

“Annas was kind of the Godfather,” Lyon said of the chief priest who was first to face Jesus. He said Jesus lived a life of thanking God, making him more able to forgive.

“He can be so calm and so cool as he was being dragged around,” Lyon said. “So kind and so gentle even to those who hung him on the cross.”

The Rev. Patrick Ewing of Ardara United Presbyterian continued the “trials and denials” theme at The First Presbyterian Church.

The death sentence was the topic for the Rev. Doug Burns of Christ United Methodist Church at First Assembly of God.

The Rev. Janet Reid of New Hope Presbyterian Church talked of the Crucifixion itself at Bethel AME Church and the Rev. Terry Erwin of Norwin Christian Church focused on the death and burial at First United Methodist Church.

The walk was part of a long day that began for the ministerium and Norwin Chamber of Commerce with an annual prayer breakfast at Irwin's Pluma restaurant.

Participants heard from Rick Druschel, a Greensburg lay church leader who earned a Super Bowl ring in his one year as a Pittsburgh Steeler in 1974.

“It was a wonderful event,” said the Rev. Dr. Clifton J. Suehr, ministerium president and Holy Trinity pastor.

Suehr were among those with Tenebrae services Friday night. Area Catholic and Protestant churches now turn their attention to Saturday night and Sunday morning services celebrating the resurrection.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or