Alexa Hayman has been attending the Westminster Good Friday Cross Walk since she was little and has always helped carry the cross.
This year, Alexa, 14, didn't let a recent foot surgery stop her from participating. Despite being in a wheelchair, she wheeled her way through the mile between St. John's Roman Catholic Church and St. Paul's United Church of Christ, helping to carry the cross part of the way.
"I just really love it. And the experience of experiencing what Jesus went through is really meaningful," Alexa said.
Alexa was joined by about 150 people who were walking through Westminster while singing and carrying a large cross. The walk was meant to commemorate Jesus carrying the cross to the site of his crucifixion.
The walk began with readings of Psalm 2:2 and Mark 14 by Deacon Paul Cooke, of St. John's. The reading described when Jesus was condemned to death, the first station of the cross. In reflection, Cooke told the crowd that they were all responsible for their sins affecting Jesus and that they should try to not judge or label people, as a way to lessen the amount of sins they commit.
"We are like those who condemned Jesus when we are blind and don't see the dignity in others," Cooke said to the crowd.
After Cooke finished his reading, the group began to sing "Jesus, Remember Me," which was followed by bagpipes.
The crowd followed Cooke from St. John's to Dutterer's Park to Grace Lutheran Church and finally to St. Paul's.
An optional Taizé service was held at St. Paul's after the walk. Taizé is a community in France where Christians of different faiths gather together for worship despite their differences.
At each stop of the walk, another clergy member would lead the section, starting with Jesus' first fall and ending with the third, which are also stations of the cross.
After each stop, the people carrying the cross would also change. While there were at least two adults carrying the cross each time, a handful of little kids and teenagers would help out.
Alexa said that this year was unique, trying to carry the cross while in a wheelchair.
"It's a different experience, for sure. But still [it's] just the experience of what Jesus went through, carrying the burden of all of us," she said.
Alexa was assisted by her friend Keira Seargeant, 12. Alexa joked that she was Keira's burden as Keira pushed her while she helped to hold the cross.
The two girls said the cross was a decent size, and Alexa estimated that she carried about five pounds of the cross.
Alexa and Keira were assisted by two other adults and 9-year-old Josiah Walk. Josiah's siblings, Lydia, 7, and Benjamin, 6, also helped to carry the cross during the different sections of the walk.
"I had the part where both cross, so it was the heaviest part," Josiah said.
Josiah said he wanted to know what it was like for Jesus to carry the cross by experiencing part of the weight for himself. It was the first time for the three siblings to come to the cross walk, and all commented about the weight of the cross.
"I felt like my arms were going to fall off," Lydia said.
Feeling the actual weight of the cross helps people understand what Jesus did when he carried his own cross to the crucifixion spot, Keira said.
"It is heavy when you have seven people to hold it, so it must have been heavy for Jesus," she said.
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