Taking Good Friday Traditions On The Road

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Arapaho UMC joins other local groups to offer a creative way to experience Stations of the Cross

After a year of online services, classes and discussion groups, Arapaho UMC was hungering for something different for Holy Week this year. Who would have expected that we would be planning yet another Good Friday virtually? Staff members, too, found themselves yearning for a creative Good Friday experience, one that would not mimic last year’s online service.

Rev. Cathy Sweeney, Associate Pastor at Arapaho UMC, remembers brainstorming with some of the staff about ideas, and one lamented that we could not share in an old-fashioned progressive dinner. Food was out of the question, Rev. Sweeney said, but the idea of visiting different locations was possible. The staff liked the idea of getting people out of their houses, especially since Good Friday has the built-in spiritual practice of sharing the Stations of the Cross.

But how could Rev. Sweeney and the staff be sure there would be participation? Particularly, she thought:

  • How could we help encourage people to leave their homes for a Good Friday service?
  • Would our staff be discouraged if only a handful of individuals chose to participate?
  • How do other church communities handle these questions, and what are they offering for Good Friday?

Enter the “Way of the Cross Driving Tour,” a collaborative Good Friday experience planned by six church communities within a three-mile radius in Richardson. These church communities will host displays of art, music, meditations and prayer, among others, with creative representations of each Stations of the Cross.

The Driving Tour begins at Synergy Wesley at UT-Dallas and ends at the Retreat House Spirituality Center, where participants are encouraged to walk their outdoor labyrinth. In between, participants will visit outdoors at Arapaho UMC, Community Christian Church, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church.

“There’s something quite poignant and powerful about choosing Good Friday for this ecumenical creative form of worship; quite literally we’re finding unity at the foot of the cross,” said Rev. Scott Gilliland, Senior Pastor at Arapaho UMC.

Through just a few online meetings, the pastors and ministry directors planned out the day, which will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 7 p.m. The tour itself can start at any point within that timeframe and is expected to take between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the needs and desires of the individual.

Participants will write prayers at one location and view Latin American art at another. They will reflect on scripture at each, and pin makeshift handkerchiefs to a board display, creating a visual of Veronica wiping Jesus’ brow. They will read and reflect on poetry focused on motherhood’s joys and tears, and they will write prayers on a strip of cloth, tying it to a cross. Each person will turn on battery-operated votives and place them on tables inside a semi-dark tent, as they are asked to remember Jesus being laid in the tomb and those who have died this year.

“I am really excited for people from all over DFW to come and experience Holy Week in a whole new way,” said Rev. Maggie Proshek, Associate Pastor at Arapaho UMC. “This has been a creative collaborative effort. I am looking forward to feel the Holy Spirit move through these different stations, which will surely help us deepen our spiritual journey toward the Cross.”


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Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2021