Hundreds of Norfolk Christians march in witness
By Keith Morris
2010: Hundreds of Christians completed pilgrimages and traditional Good Friday marches of witness yesterday (April 2) in city, towns and villages across Norfolk.
Some 250 pilgrims reached the end of a 120-mile walk carrying large wooden crosses, at the national shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham, for a unique Easter celebration.
Pilgrims taking part in Student Cross, Britain’s oldest annual pilgrimage, came in groups from London, Nottingham, Oxford, Ely and other locations.
Dave Stanley, Student Cross national director for 2010, said: “Everyone was in good spirits as the groups completed their very long walks to get to Walsingham, and there was lots of cheering and singing as they arrived.
“The Student Cross is an intensely rewarding experience and the wet weather this year has not dampened our spirits as we celebrate Easter.”
One of the largest Good Friday walks was up to the summit of Beeston Bump overlooking Sheringham when around 300 people took part, stopping for a short service led by the Salvation Army band.
On the hilltop, the large wooden cross was silhouetted against the skyline as hymns and prayers were sung and said, at the event organized by Sheringham Churches Together.
In Norwich, a silent walk of witness through the city centre was joined by around 140 people, including the Bishop of Norwich. It stopped on Millennium Plain outside the Forum when the silence was broken by the sound of nails being hammered into a wooden cross by Rev Nicholas Vesey, chairman of Transforming Norwich, which organized the march.
Walkers then proceeded to the Anglican Cathedral where the congregation was addressed by General John Larsson, former World Leader of the Salvation Army.
Nicholas said: “Walking in silence is very powerful and there is a humility involved and a vulnerability that seems to immediately engender respect from those who see it.
“People tended to stop and look and participate through that looking. At the Forum steps all those at the cafes allowed us to have a special moment, with the cross and the nails being hammered, that was very touching.
“When you see the cross you can’t forget that it is Good Friday and that is one of the reasons why we do it, as nowhere else is there much to remind people of that fact.”
The annual Churches Together Walk of Witness took place through Downham Market when around 70 Christians processed in silence behind a wooden cross, as they reflected on the events of the first Good Friday. They stopped at various points in the town for a Bible reading, prayer and hymn. Stops included Tesco, Morrisons and some of Downham’s churches.
Churches Together in King's Lynn
organized a march of witness around the town from St Faith's Gaywood, via St John's, St Margaret's and into the town. More than 80 people took in the event and the Vicar of St Margaret's Church, Lynn, the Rev Canon Chris Ivory
, said there was a mixed reaction to the Act of Witness, reflecting on the day that Jesus was crucified.
"Some shoppers passed by, some stopped to look at what was happening and some asked what was happening?," said Chris.
, a similar procession snaked through town centre before stopping outside the Hotel de Paris overlooking the pier and the parish church to re-enact the Easter story through church members in the crowd.
Other processions took place in Dilham
, near North Walsham and in Diss.Pictured top is the Downham Market walk and above and below, the one in Norwich.