Community Lenten celebration

MARTINS FERRY – Grace Presbyterian Church is hosting a community worship service on Palm Sunday at 7 p.m. It’s part of a longstanding tradition of Martins Ferry of its various churches participating in joint worship services throughout the season of lent.

“It’s kind of a unique thing,” Rev. William Webster from Grace explained. “We gather every Sunday evening for a community Lenten service, hosted at different churches in town.”

The Palm Sunday service gets under way at 7 p.m. at Grace with Rev. Tom Marut from St. Mary’s Catholic Church handling the preaching.

Other ministers from churches in town will lead the worship service.

“We are really looking forward to bringing the community together in this way,” Webster said.

“It’s a unique opportunity for people to come together in fellowship and worship.”

Music will be provided by Power Point as well as a couple of pieces performed by Grace’s hand bell choir. Refreshments will be served following the service.

While the weather may play a factor in the turnout, Webster noted that the services generally solicit a large turnout.

It’s not uncommon for more than 100 residents to pack the designated church for the week, and it’s not just comprised of only members of the host church.

Webster explained there is great diversity in the denominations represented in the pews, from Roman Catholics and Presbyterians to Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists … nearly every church in town.

Another unique and well attended even during the month-long community celebration is the Passion walk, which will take place from noon until 3 p.m. on Good Friday.

“I’m not sure of any other town around here that has a Passion Walk,” Webster said.

The Passion Walk will start at the south end of town and process north, gathering people along the way. The walk will end at the Lutheran Church, culminating in a Good Friday service.

The walk will stop at every church in town for a quick 5-minute meditation on a certain aspect of Good Friday.

Webster and his fellow clergymen invite you out to enjoy an evening of celebration, worship and fellowship.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com