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Walk of compassion, ministry of faith

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Churches work to spread Easter message in different ways

By Lisa King

This Easter, one Shelby County church will practice an old tradition and another something new.

The Church of the Annunciation on Friday will continue with its decade-long tradition of its Walk of Compassion, a 6-block (roundtrip) journey of a group of about 100 people, one of them carrying a larger-than-life-sized wooden cross down Main Street in Shelbyville.

The group will stop to meditate and pray 14 times along the way, for the Stations of the Cross. The walk never is canceled because of inclement weather.

Church member Gil Humphrey, who coordinates the event, said the group is composed of both Protestant and Catholics and even includes bilingual prayers.

“Anyone is welcome to participate,” he said. “All you have to do is just show up.”

People will also take turns carrying the heavy wooden cross, said Rev. Mike Tobin, pastor of the Church of the Annunciation.

The procession will start off from the church at 5 p.m. on Good Friday and will go down to 3rd Street and back again.

Sound simple?

Maybe to those participating, but the beforehand process of working with city and state officials to close that portion of Main Street for the 2-hour event is time consuming, though well worth it, Tobin said.

Shelbyville Public Works and state road employees must help with putting up barricades and then taking them down again, he said.

“But I am really glad to have their help with this each year,” he said.

Humphrey said that to him the walk is very special because is exemplifies the true meaning of Easter.

“Just to walk as he [Jesus] did, in his steps, you put yourself in his place and think about what that means,” he said.

The following day, Centenary Methodist Church will be doing something new this year, Pastor Willard Knipp said.

“It’s called Impact Shelby, and it’s a very big thing for us,” he said.

“For the first time ever, as far as I know, all seven United Methodist churches in the county are going to come together for a community-wide mission outreach project on Saturday.”

Knipp said that about 250 people from these churches will be traveling about the county, performing various ministries.

“We are going to build four wheelchair ramps, and one of them will be built by our youth,” he said.

Building ramps is not new to the church, but doing so in collaboration with the other churches is, Knipp said.

“We will also be putting together some care packages for the military and for college students,” he said.

Another activity will include preparing notes of appreciation along with cookies for first responders in the county.

“We thought this would be a good way to witness to our faith,” Knipp said.

The children’s outreach ministry will be cleaning up the area in the vicinity of the church and at Veteran’s Park and will sing during the serving of lunch.

Clyde Tharp, a Centenary Methodist Church member who is helping to coordinate the event, said what is amazing to him is the diverse participation in the event.

“This will involve churches from Graefenburg to Simpsonville,” he said.

At 11:30, the event’s “food team” will serve a continental breakfast for participants and assemble backpacks for school children in need and serve lunch at as well.

A visitation team will also be going out to nursing homes to visit more than 300 people.

Tharp said anyone who wants to participate can call him at 502-321-3235 or just show up at the church at 429 Main St. between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

“This is our way of making the living Christ come alive in the community this Easter,” he said.

Knipp agreed.

“This is going to be a wonderful event, which, I hope, blesses our community and allows us to speak to the faith we have,” he said.

Easter events

Listings of services, celebrations, Page B3