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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    Traveling crosses for Lent

    March 11, 2024 / By Shelby Winchell, Director of Communications / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    It all started with a six-foot cross made by a church member who connected two wooden beams. At the time, Brandin Greco was the pastor at Lycoming United Methodist Church and was busy creating plans for both Lent and Easter. Then the pandemic hit.  

    “We had to quickly change our plans in order to stay connected with our church families,” explains Pastor Brandin. 

    He wasn’t going to let COVID-19 stop him or members at Lycoming UMC from worshiping and singing God’s praise. His church had been livestreaming since 2016 so the transition from worshiping in-person to virtually was an easy one. 

    “We started broadcasting from our family home. My daughter and her husband stayed with us and led worship music.” 

    In an attempt to stay even more connected during this time when distancing was being enforced, the idea of the traveling cross came to life.  

    “We would transport the cross to be placed in the front yards of church members for a few days at a time throughout Lent. The idea was to journal the journey from house to house online as it made its way to the church for Good Friday.” 

    That first year in March 2020, the cross traveled through the Lycoming area to eight different homes. One of the homes it has been parked in front of belongs to Pat Lawrence. Pat lives in Mexico and has been attending Lycoming UMC for nearly two decades. 

    “That cross is a visual reminder to me. When people pass by, they wonder why there’s a cross in my yard. People will call me and ask why it’s there. It is part of showing the love of sharing and giving. If someone is having a bad day, they may stop by and want to talk because they saw the cross,” explains Pat. 

    In four short years, the traveling cross has become a tradition not only for Lycoming UMC, but also Mexico UMC

    “This year between both churches, we have 24 homes and two crosses along with the original cross staying in front of the parsonage throughout Lent. We have since added several community members and people from other churches on the journey. It has been one way that we can visibly represent our churches in the community and open opportunities for conversation while sharing the gospel with others,” explains Pastor Brandin. 

    The cross can stay in a yard between three to five days before it’s moved to another location. Pat says for her, the cross is a constant.  

    “My quiet spot is the boat launch at Mexico Point. There’s a cross there. I watch it all year long. It looks different in the winter, spring, summer, and fall. People may not notice it, but the cross is there just like my faith.” 

    There’s only about ten miles between Lycoming and Mexico UMCs, and by Good Friday, the crosses will have arrived at their final stop in front of both churches. In that short distance, the crosses will have crossed many more miles in an attempt to remind others of what Jesus sacrificed for all of us. 

    TAGGED / Communications

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."