It started with a group of friends, wanting to walk together in honor of Good Friday. Twenty-six years later, a cool breeze and sunny day greeted approximately 2,000 cross walkers ready to give outward testament of their faith.
Sponsored by Student Ventures, a high school ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, the annual Cross Walk followed a 2.2 mile path from the Temeku Cinemas parking lot ending at Sam Hicks Monument Park in Old Town Temecula.
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According to the Student Ventures website, believers met “to show the community that Jesus Christ is alive and well!”
Many carried crosses, from hand-made ones decorated by children, to the two weighty reminders of the reason behind Good Friday and the original Stations of the Cross.
Third-year cross walker, Aurora Vasquez, leader of the Rancho Community Church singles group commented on the solemn, yet hopeful atmosphere of the day: “It’s amazing, the fellowship we share today, and every year,” said Vasquez.
Fellow Rancho Community Church member and five-year cross walker, Trisha Perez, agreed. “It’s a gorgeous day, and we do this to remember that Jesus Christ was sacrificed for us,” Perez said.
The procession began at 11:15 a.m. with attendees — ranging in age from toddlers to grandparents — toting signs, crosses, and smiles as they walked toward Old Town. Traffic enforcement was provided by the City of Temecula Police Department, and Temecula Public Works aided with lane closures.
Volunteers from Student Ventures, dressed in orange vests, cheered and offered words of encouragement as the well-mannered crowd walked by. Drivers honked and waved as the procession went by.
As the pilgrimage arrived at the park, and the crowd swelled, the New Covenant Murrieta Worship Team met them with a full concert, singing contemporary worship songs to the audience already in attendance. This marked their second year performing at this event, led by worship team leader Aaron Crane. The crowd raised hands and voices in praise in the outdoor worship service, and stayed to hear the Easter message.
The Rancho Community Singles group discussed the importance of being able to gather this way. “I love the fact that we are able to practice our freedom of religion, and glorify God in the open. So many places cannot gather like this, and we are truly grateful.” Vasquez said.
The procession that began at Temeku Cinemas, followed its standard path down Ynez Road, across Overland Drive, south on Jefferson Avenue, and ended at Sam Hicks Memorial Park, in Old Town Temecula.
There were free shuttles provided for all who needed rides back to the Temeku Cinemas.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.