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Annual walk carries on county tradition

“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming,” was the chant Rev. Garland James led participants of the annual Witness Walk on Good Friday.
For those chanting along with James, the Witness Walk event commemorates Jesus Christ’s walk to Calvary where he was crucified before his resurrection three days later, which is celebrated by Christians with Easter Sunday.
“This is a wonderful day. It’s a wonderful time of the year that we can share this experience of remembering Christ’s death and resurrection,” said Rev. Robert Layell, who is the president of the Unicoi County Ministerial Association, during his opening remarks.
Layell said the event is important because it unifies.
“This event is important because it shows the unity of the community through God,” Layell said. “At least one time a year, it allows the community to come together no matter which church they belong to and regardless of what denomination they are. We also get to celebrate one of the biggest holidays of the church – Easter.”
Layell said he thoroughly enjoys seeing the community together for the holiday.
“If you look around during the walk, you see so many people from so many different churches and you see the ministers there working together,” Layell said. “It makes you really proud of the community.”
During the event, participants are able to take turns carrying a wooden cross, which eventually makes its way from Food Lion on Main Avenue in Erwin to Centenary United Methodist Church where the walk is followed by a sermon and hymns.
Rev. Larry Wiley of Central Baptist Church said he hopes the Witness Walk demonstrates the passion and love Christ had for his followers the day he went to Calvary.
“I think it bears witness to our community of that special event where literally Christ did carry his cross to Calvary’s hill,” Wiley said. “It’s a reenactment of that original walk. It draws attention to what Jesus did for all of us.”
Wiley said he has gained personal insight into Christ’s journey through participation and carrying the cross is his favorite part of the event.
“I don’t guess it’s anything close to what the original walk was like, but it gives you an idea of the burden that Christ was carrying in a small way,” Wiley said.

For the remainder of this article please see the April 2, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.