116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SPRINGVILLE - A dream turned into religious reality for Jack Ray.
His small, non-denominational congregation at Faith Christian Fellowship meets at Springville High School but has aspirations of building a church to call its own.
'I had this dream I was carrying a cross around town and I thought, ‘What if I carried a cross to where we meet in Springville to our property we have in Whittier?' ' said Ray, 60, the pastor. 'So I told my wife, and she said, ‘What is the purpose of that?' And I said to remind people of Good Friday.”
Members of his church and community were inspired. A 60-pound, 12-feet-tall and 5-feet-wide wooden cross - with wheels attached - was built.
Ray threw that cross over his shoulder Friday morning at Springville High School and began the 3-mile journey down the country blacktop with 20 people following. Luckily, he got some help from others.
'Jack is a great pastor. I enjoy listening to him every Sunday and I learn a lot,” Justin Brown, 27, of Cedar Rapids said during his turn carrying the cross to the unincorporated community of Whittier in northeast Linn County. 'This just feels good. Just thinking about everything I learned at church, and this really puts it into action doing something like this.”
In the Christian faith Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ before he rose from the dead, celebrated Easter Sunday.
When the parade reached the plot of land purchased by Faith Christian Fellowship, they planted the cross in the ground where one day the 15-year-old parish hopes it can finally have a home.
'We were at the Whittier Community Building, but the basement was musty and moldy - it wasn't a good place to send kids for Sunday school,” said Ross Cummings, 64, of Viola, one of the first members of the fellowship, and, with his brother, a builder of the big cross. For the last three years, the church meets at 9:30 a.m. Sunday in the Springville High School Auditorium. Cummings said after they meet, they would typically have to move the chairs back to the original formation for the school band.
'It would be nice to have our own place.” Cummings said.
Ray said the congregation has about one third of the money needed to build a church, and hopes construction will start in the next two to three years. But he didn't do the parade, which caught the waves and honks of many, for the publicity.
'I did this to remind us what Jesus did,” Ray said. 'That he died on the cross for our sins, and that he loved us and sacrificed for us.”