OCEAN CITY — Drawing in one of the largest crowds in years, the 2012 Good Friday Cross Walk still has room to grow, especially with church partners, according to event organizers.
“This Friday was probably as big a crowd as I’ve seen … our fellowship hall was absolutely full,” said Rev. Normand Poultney of the Atlantic United Methodist Church.
A member of the Cross Walk for the last six years, Poultney was pleased with the turnout from last Friday’s event. Besides those that actually took place in the walk, which traveled from Worcester Street to 9th Street on the Boardwalk, Poultney was impressed by the composure of people just out on the boards on a Friday afternoon in April.
“They showed great respect,” he said of the crowd.
While religion, like politics, is a notoriously divided subject, Poultney stressed that he’s never seen any bad attitudes emerge during the event, from members of the walk or pedestrians on the Boardwalk.
“In the six years I’ve done it, we’ve never, ever had a negative,” he said.
Poultney added that he was “amazed at the number of people who really resonate” with the Cross Walk which, as the name implies, includes a re-enactment of Jesus Christ carrying his cross before his crucifixion. Though far less graphic than the original image, Poultney pointed out that the re-enactment, along with the songs and prayers offered during the walk, serve to remind people the true meaning behind the holiday.
“It gives us the opportunity to just remind the public what Good Friday is all about,” he said. “Sometimes we forget what sparked the whole thing.”
Even with the walk’s success in the community, Poultney admitted that he would like to see larger crowds, especially in the form of more and diverse ministers.
“You always want more … I’d like to see more pastors involved with it,” he said.
Poultney asserted that “it’s not a denominational thing” as far as what churches could and should be involved in the event. As far as the Cross Walk is concerned, Poultney would like to see representatives from all branches of Christianity come together.
“I think it’s important to keep the whole community plugged into the event,” he remarked.