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Greenwich Teens Bear the Cross on Good Friday

GREENWICH, Conn. – Greenwich teenagers took turns carrying a cross nearly 2 miles on Good Friday as a reminder of what Easter is all about.

More than 20 middle school and high school students at the First Congregational Church of Greenwich carried a large wooden cross from the Sound Beach Avenue church to Tod's Point Beach, where it will be used as part of Easter Sunday’s 6:15 a.m. sunrise service.

“We’ve been doing this every year for more than 60 years, and we had about 20 kids taking part in the walk today,” said the Rev. Mark Montgomery, associate pastor for youth ministry at the Old Greenwich church.

The church congregation is the oldest in Greenwich, dating to the 1600s.

“For us, the ceremony is a way of remembering this very solemn part of the Easter story,” said Montgomery. “It’s a difficult, painful reminder of what happened to Jesus. But it is also part of our annual Sunrise Service on the beach that is a symbol of hope, resurrection and new life.”

The teens took turns carrying the cross down Soundview Avenue at noon, Montgomery said, “so each one could be part of the experience and reflect on the true meaning of Easter.”

Liz Morris, 18, a senior at Greenwich Academy and a member of the church choir, said this was her first year taking part in the cross-carrying event.

"It was really heavy, and all I could think of was how we had 20 kids taking turns, but Jesus had to carry it himself and how painful that must have been," said Morris. "It definitely helps experience Good Friday and how Jesus was taken away."

Montgomery said he and members of the church’s youth will lead Sunday’s Sunrise Service that draws 200 to 500 people every year “depending on the weather.

“It’s great to have the teens involved in the cross carrying,” said Montgomery. “It shows a real commitment to Easter and a willingness to take part in one of the holiest Christian periods of the year.”

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