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Easter Cross Walk

Many congregations invite people to participate in devotionals during the season of Lent. But one church asks the faithful to take their prayers to the public. In this encore, we watch as Barry Simmons follows their lead in 2009.

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(Locator: South Bend, Indiana)

Church Member: "I think it's in the 30's."

Easter weekend in South Bend, Indiana, can feel more like Christmas.

Church Member: "Bundling up."

Which is why it may seem odd that Broadway Christian Parish United Methodist Church holds its Good Friday service outside.

(Group singing) "When you come into your kingdom."

But that's not what gets them the attention. This is.

The Rev. Nancy Nichols, Broadway Christian Parish United Methodist Church: "Yes, it's a little bit of an experience. We'll get cars honking at us not in derision, but in support."

Pastor Nancy Nichols inherited the tradition begun 18 years ago here at Broadway.

Church Member: "He's a trouper."

Members take turns carrying a cross to places in need of prayer.

Rhonda Hughes, Participant: "It's an opportunity to express solidarity with people who suffer."

The Rev. Nancy Nichols: "I live in this neighborhood. I love this neighborhood. During the year I kind of keep track of what's happening in the neighborhood, and then design the route around where we need to go."

They stopped at a fire station to pray for the firefighters' protection; a recent crime scene to ask for safety. Each time leaving behind a sign of their blessing.

Conrad Damien, Broadway Christian Parish United Methodist Church: "It's always a walk of hope, but it's a walk that faces the realities of this neighborhood."

Sandie Fisher, Participant: "I'm praying for our community, that this neighborhood will be uplifted, homes won't be empty, and crime rates will go down."

Some prayers are answered more quickly than others.

Victor Henderson: "I like this."

Victor Henderson spotted the group praying at this neighborhood business.

Victor Henderson, Area Resident: "What it looks like to me, they're doing like what Jesus did when he carried his own cross."

...and decided to join them.

Victor Henderson: "We need change out here. I'm trying to change myself in a lot of ways."

Which is just the kind of thing Easter promises the kind of thing that motivates a church full of walkers on a cold day in April.

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For more information on the Good Friday walk or other ways Broadway Christian Parish United Methodist Church stays in tune with the neighborhood it serves, visit the Website or call 574-289-0333.

Media contact is Fran Walsh, at 615-742-5458.
This story was first posted on April 15, 2009.