Most folk are familiar with someone wearing a cross as an item of jewellery or a symbol of their Christian faith. However, other than thanks to films or TV programmes, few will have seen a man carrying a full-size cross on his shoulders!
That’s unless you live in Brierfield – the town which was once nicknamed “The Holy City” because of the number of churches in the area.
The Rev. Phillip Ingram and Stephen Wells – two of the leaders at Living Hope, one of the existing churches – are the men who you may have seen carrying the cross around the town on recent Sunday afternoons, starting on February 17th.
Phillip said: “Last year, I believe that God challenged me with carrying a cross around Brierfield during Lent – the 40 days leading up to the Easter weekend.
“Why? Three reasons. “Firstly, as a reminder of what Easter is about: about Jesus dying on the cross, and then being raised from the dead by God the Father. Secondly, to offer people the opportunity to come to our church on Easter Sunday, to find out why these events happened. And, thirdly, to encourage people to realise that God loves every single one of them to bits and that, through Jesus’s death and resurrection, he is offering us the gift of his love, forgiveness of sins and eternal life now, simply by inviting Jesus and God to be part of our life.
“Some will think: ‘If God knew what I’m like, no way could He love me.’”
Phillip laughed: “God does know what you’re like; but, believe me, he still truly loves you to bits!”
And he added: “We’ve titled the walk – ‘Hope for All’. Not ‘the cross-your-fingers-and hope-for-the-best’ type of hope, but the type that lies deep within each one of us that we will be truly and deeply loved. Some have been fortunate with that sort of love by our families; however, many have never known that sort of love; but to everyone, God offers that kind of love, through his son, Jesus.
“If you want to know more, find us as we walk round Brierfield on Sunday afternoons on march 10th and 17th and every day between March 20th and 29th. Quite a few people have done that already, and we have had a very positive response from nearly everybody, which has been great.
“Even better, join us at one of our Celebration Services on Easter Sunday (10.30am and 6.30pm). We would love to see you there!”
Living Hope is situated on the corner of Halifax Road and Walter Street in Brierfield.”