Fol­low­ing Je­sus’ path

40th an­nual trek set for to­day in Gor­don

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - Front Page - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY EDI­TOR

C ome, all ye faith­ful, to the ruby an­niver­sary of a pro­ces­sion com­mem­o­rat­ing the death of Je­sus Christ. The 40th an­nual Trek of the Cross will be held at 12: 30 p. m. to­day, Good Fri­day, be­gin­ning at Simp­son United Methodist Church, 119 Bid­dle St., Gor­don, ac­cord­ing to Ti­mothy Christ­man, the church’s pas­tor. Fol­low­ing the pro­ces­sion, a sanc­tu­ary ser­vice will be held at 1 p. m. at the church, he said.

“The Trek of the Cross … is a recre­ation of the cross­bear­ing of Christ from Jerusalem to Calvary. The goal is to vis­ually recre­ate that and also serve as a re­minder,” Christ­man said.

He­said it is in­ter­est­ing to­some de­gree to see­somepeo­ple dres­supin pe­riod cos­tumes or as peas­ant folks.

“We re­mem­ber, aswe noted this past Lord’s day onPalm Sun­day, the tri­umphal en­try, that this is the week in­which there are two pro­ces­sions: the ju­bi­lant, tri­umphal en­try of Christ into Jerusalem with hosan­nas, and then of course, later in the HolyWeek, an­other pro­ces­sion, a forced death­march if you will, fromtheVia Dolorosa to Calvary, where he took upon the sins of the­world,” Christ­man said about the cru­ci­fix­ion of Je­sus Christ.

The trek is set to go down Bid­dle Street, turn­ing onto Ho­bart Street, then to McKnight Street back to Bid­dle. Two other parishes of by­gone days on ei­ther side of Bid­dle used to formthe shape of a cross on the route, Christ­man said.

De­spite fewer churches in Gor­don, the bor­ough has still been help­ful, Christ­man said, and re­mains an ideal place to hold the trek.

“It’s very suit­able be­cause it’s rather flat, no ma­jor high­ways, the bor­ough pro­vides for us with fire po­lice and traf­fic con­trol,” he said. “Truck’s don’t come much toGor­don any­more,” Christ­man joked.

And in the event’s 40 years, it’s only been plagued twice by­weather events, heavy snowand tor­ren­tial rain, ac­cord­ing to news­pa­per ar­chives. Ei­ther way, a ser­vicewill fol­lowand bring the com­mu­nity to­gether, Christ­man said.

“It’s a good time for the com­mu­nity to gather to re­mem­ber the cross, Christ and the com­mu­nity of faith,” he said, adding that it’s a good day for “peo­ple­who are a part of other con­gre­ga­tions, dur­ing the Lord’s day, to gather.”

The event’s his­tory dates back to 1979, when Elmer Yost, Al­len­town — a reg­u­lar visi­tor to Gor­don— de­cided to pick up a cross and walk through the streets por­tray­ing Je­sus Christ, all alone. As the years picked up, so did the par­tic­i­pants, ac­cord­ing to ar­chives.

After the 10th trek— Yost planned to do 12, one for ev­ery Apos­tle— he passed away, and his nephew, Edward La­bie, picked up where he left off.

After La­bie’s two planned treks to ful­fill his un­cle’s mis­sion turned into 21, he gave up the cross to his nephew, Jef­frey Nemeth, who has taken on the role since 2010, ac­cord­ing to news­pa­per ar­chives. Con­tact the writer: dprosick@ re­pub­li­can­her­ald. com; 570- 628- 6002

JAC­QUE­LINE DORMER / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Jef­frey Nemeth, Frackville, por­trayed Je­sus Christ dur­ing last year’s Trek of the Cross. This year’s pro­ces­sion will be be­gin at 12: 30 p. m. to­day from Simp­son United Methodist Church, Gor­don.

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