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Witness Walk returning after three-year hiatus

Erwin Record File Photo • The procession delivers the cross to the grounds of Centenary United Methodist Church in Erwin during a prior Witness Walk.

By Richard Rourk

Unicoi County religious leaders are teaming up to bring back an Easter tradition to rally a renewed sense of community and celebrate the important religious holiday.

The Witness Walk is scheduled to take place on Good Friday, April 15, after a three-year hiatus.

The ongoing pandemic prevented the annual Witness Walk from taking place in 2020 and 2021. The event also got canceled in 2019 due to severe thunderstorms.

During the Witness Walk, participants are able to take turns carrying a wooden cross, which eventually will make its way from Food Lion on Main Avenue in Erwin to Centenary United Methodist Church.

“We will end at Centenary as usual with stops at Erwin Town Hall and the Unicoi County Courthouse for short messages from the pronouncements from the cross,” said Erwin Church of God Senior Pastor John Edwards.

The Witness Walk, which has been a tradition for close to two decades, has a specific route. 

“The route was chosen in the beginning to allow for public exposure and convenient stops along the way,” Edwards said.

Centenary United Methodist Church Pastor Kim Isley Selby is happy to see the return of the Witness Walk. 

“It’s great to see the Witness Walk return after the last couple of years in the pandemic,” said Isley Selby. “Unfortunately when it was time to plan, we were not confident about the COVID numbers. The Kiwanians will not hold the indoor service nor will the ladies serve lunch.”

Instead, she said that the last stop on the Witness Walk will be outdoors on the grounds of Centenary. There the crowd will listen to the last words of Jesus on the cross.  

“Hopefully, everything will have returned to normal by 2023,”Isley Selby said.

The walk is sponsored by the Unicoi County Ministerial Association but can be supported by any church that wants to participate. Everyone is welcome.

The 2022 Witness Walk is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.  Everyone wanting to take part should be at the Food Lion parking lot at 915 N. Main Ave., Erwin.