- April 14, 2017
The Rev. Dr. Tom Pfaff remembers a Good Friday morning walk in which he got caught up in watching other people experiencing the walk.
"There was a jogger running around and through us and started watching. One of the pilgrims came up and gave her a service book and she joined us all the way to the end," said Pfaff, the president of the Sarasota Ministerial Association. "I always get caught up watching the children and the kids and how they’re responding to the words."
Pfaff and the Sarasota Ministerial Association have organized the April 19 Good Friday walk since 2001. The group assumed responsibility for the walk from Church of the Redeemer's Men's Prayer Group, which had been organizing the walk since 1996. Members of the Church of the Redeemer started the walk in the 1970s.
Now in 2019, Pfaff said the association is hoping 1,000 people will join in the walk beginning outside of Hollywood 11 at 7:15 a.m. April 19 and ending at Church of the Redeemer.
The group will walk down Main Street in a traffic bubble, with police at the front and back of the group, and will block intersections as the procession carries on.
The Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson will welcome everyone at 7:30 a.m., and then the walk will begin.
There are 14 Stations of the Cross, and some of the stations are at landmarks in Sarasota. The sixth station is on the steps of First Baptist Church.
Bus transportation will be available for those who want to park near the walk's beginning or ending point and don't want to walk the round-trip.
The entire walk takes around one hour and is less than a mile. Pfaff said he barely notices the length, though so people do join at different parts in the walk if they can't stand for very long.
"I love to be in the city when it’s waking up. You get to see the street sweepers going by and people opening the doors to their shops and homeless people waking up on the bench," said Pfaff. "(The walk) is an ecumenical experience. There are Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, almost all of the different Christian traditions, for the most part, are represented."
Pfaff said the ministerial association wants the walk to grow because it's something Christians all around the world experience.
"This is a worldwide happening, from Jerusalem to Sarasota. Some 2 billion Christians on Good Friday contemplate God's execution," Pfaff said. "It is wonderful that Sarasota is involved in experiencing Good Friday in this way."