ETNA (KDKA) — On Good Friday in Etna, the faithful take part in a tradition that started 20 years ago, symbolically retracing the final steps of Jesus.
Pastor Don Edd, of the First Congregational Church, says it mirrors the spirit of the community.
“This Etna community has been fantastic all through the years. Rain or shine they come out, and they’re a big part of this event,” said Pastor Edd.
They make their way down Locust Street, some for the very first time. There are young men who’ve endured bumps in the road, members of a faith-based residential program, called Teen Challenge.
“They’re in good spirits so far. They’re different people, different moods. But so far, this group I brought with me, they’re in good spirits,” said Adrian McNutt, a staff member with the program.
This is the third time for 14-year-old Isaiah Drodge.
“There’s no greater reward than waking up, and just having the joy of waking up another day and being alive, and being able to serve my Lord,” said Drodge.
Carrying the cross is a humbling moment they treasure.
The cross they used to carry consisted of two telephone poles. In recent years, they decided to lighten the load.
It’s still no easy matter to make the turn onto High Street for the long uphill walk to the cemetery, reminiscent for some of the hill at Calvary.
The cross will overlook a town that has come together as one.
“The people from the area churches, all five churches come together, and set aside any minor difference that might exist theologically, and it’s a community day,” said Pastor Edd.
For those who gather, it always will be.