By LINDA M. LINONIS
Lisa Velker believes the Cross-Walk at Canfield Presbyterian Church reinforces the story of Christ’s Passion for the audience and participants.
The director of Christian education said she started the event last year to offer a religious program in addition to the traditional, though secular, egg hunt and giant egg drop.
The Cross-Walk is planned Wednesday at the church. Participants will “meet” some of the characters in the walk during dinner, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
“They’ll speak, while in costume, about life with Jesus and their relationships to him,” Velker said.
After dinner, groups of 10 to 15 people will be guided to four scenes that include Judas getting 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mary and disciple John at the foot of the cross and the Resurrection.
Velker said the event is appropriate for elementary-age children through adults.
Velker explained the Cross-Walk was born out of inspiration after reading Christian author Joyce Meyer.
“I liked the idea of living on the side of the Resurrection. That’s the joy,” she said.
In connection to that, Velker promotes “adding something,” especially for youth, in one’s life. “Contribute something to the public ... volunteer, help out.”
Though the Passion of Christ must occur to get to the Resurrection, Velker said, “Don’t live in the despair and death, but live in the ministry of the Resurrection.”
She added that Christians should “remember and honor” Christ’s ordeal but appreciate it culminated in the Resurrection and eternal life.
Velker said the goal of Cross-Walk is to help “people get a better understanding of Biblical stories so they can remember them.”
Last year, about 60 percent of participants were from the church and 40 percent from the community.
“We want people to experience reflection,” she said.
The basis of the scenes is found in Scripture, mainly Matthew, John and Luke, she said.
They will be presented in classrooms.
Tom Scurich, director of music, will sing “Were You There When They Cruficied my Lord?” Velker said his voice and presentation “will give you chills.”
Andrew Schrum, who has belonged to the church six months and attended for three years, said last year he was in the audience.
“It was helpful to watch last year and understand events of Holy Week,” he said.
This year, he plays the role of Caiaphas, the high priest who arranges the betrayal by Judas played by Mike Williamson.
“It’s a learning and teaching experience,” he said of his participation.
He added that he also wanted to show support of church projects by being involved.
Paige Brucoli, 17, plays Mary, the mother of Jesus.
“I love helping out at church,” she said.
So when Cross-Walk actors were sought, Paige volunteered.
“It’s interesting so see how it’s interpreted,” she said of the scenes from Jesus’ life.
“It gets pretty intense, and it’s a challenge,” she said.
The junior at Canfield High School said she has participated in plays and other school activities.
Eryn Willoughby, 16, is in her second year as Mary Magdalene.
“It was a good experience,” she said. “I think it brings history alive ... seeing the stories we heard as kids.”
The Canfield High sophomore added that the Cross-Walk offers “a look at what it might have been like.”
Canfield Presbyterian will sponsor an egg hunt and giant egg drop from 10 a.m. to noon next Saturday.
For Holy Week, a Seder meal will take place at 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday, March 28, in the fellowship hall, Good Friday service at 7 p.m. March 29, and on Easter there will be a sunrise service at 7 a.m. followed by a continental breakfast and 10 a.m. worship.