Good Friday walk slated in Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG — The annual inter-faith Good Friday walk is March 30 and begins at noon at St. Francis Xavier Church at 532 Market St.

The community Stations of the Cross continues its tradition of people of various faiths worshipping together and touring downtown churches.

The Stations depict 14 scenes from the walk of Jesus to Calvary and his crucifixion there. At each station, there are scripture readings and responsive prayers. Stations of the Cross are prayed throughout the year but are even more meaningful on Good Friday, which marks the death of Jesus, officials said.

The walk begins praying two stations at St. Francis. From there, a large rustic cross is carried to the next church.

Seven churches host the event as an outreach to the community to become involved in this commemoration. St. Francis Xavier, First Baptist Church, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church, Logan Memorial Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and the Salvation Army are host churches. In addition to the Easter event, these churches serve the community with other outreach efforts as well.

The Rev. John Rice pastors St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. It was established in 1853 and the current building was completed in 1869. St. Francis serves as the site for the Gabriel Project, a ministry to new and expectant mothers in need, as well as Stone Soup Kitchen that serves a community luncheon each Wednesday.

The Rev. Dr. Richard McClure pastors First Baptist and is the only remaining founding pastor of this event. First Baptist began in 1817. The current building was first occupied in 1876. They serve as a ministry partner in the community to McKinley School, Habitat for Humanity and Narcotics Anonymous.

The Rev. Charletta Green pastors both St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Logan Memorial Church.

St. Paul’s was founded in Parkersburg, originally as the Southern Methodist Church. St. Paul’s was dedicated in 1901. Community outreach here is served through the Parkersburg Urban Ministry, which provides a Food Pantry and meals.

Logan Memorial was Parkersburg’s first African-American faith community in Parkersburg and was constructed in 1892. They have an active prison outreach, ministering specifically to women.

Dr. Damon Rhodes pastors First United Methodist Church. First UM was established in Parkersburg in 1799 and its current building was erected in 1911. They have active outreach ministries that include making prayer blankets, as well as sewing quilts that were distributed to flood victims in West Virginia.

The Rev. Paul Hicks is the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. Trinity was established in 1843, the third church established in the community. The current church building was completed in 1878. Trinity assists in the community with a Monday lunch program open to anyone in need, as well as a Clothing Closet, Food Closet, utility and prescription assistance. They hold an annual book sale and donate half the proceeds to support local charities. Trinity hosts an AA group that meets in the fellowship hall on Saturday nights.

Majors Matt and Cathy Riley pastor The Salvation Army. The Salvation Amy has served the Parkersburg area for many years and has been at its Fifth Street location since 1962. The Salvation Army is known in Parkersburg for its Thanksgiving Day Dinner and the Red Kettle event, an outreach effort at providing Christmas to the less fortunate. They also support the larger Salvation Army mission of ministering to those with alcohol abuse issues.

Several downtown churches are also active in “Battling Addiction with Grace,” an effort discerning what the churches’ roles are in the local drug crisis.

The hosting churches invite everyone to begin their Easter weekend by walking with the cross to celebrate Easter with their brothers and sisters of all faiths.

The Salvation Army also invites the public to remain after the final two stations are prayed for music, coffee and fellowship.