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Local church prepares for Easter celebration

While the sun was setting on Riverview Baptist Church just north of Troy Wednesday, members of its congregation were remembering the crucifixion of Jesus Christ when he left the Earthly world.

The Raising of the Cross of Jesus at Riverview Baptist was a ceremony that welcomed participants to join in the suffering of Jesus.

Joe Cotten, a member of the church, portrayed Christ in his journey to bring Christians salvation through atonement by carrying a large cross.

The parking lot was the Via Dolorosa and the churchyard was Calvary. Children of the congregation followed Cotten down the Way of Sorrows like Simon of Cyrene, Veronica or the daughters of Jerusalem.

“This is a way of showing as close as we can get, how he suffered for us so we can have eternal life,” said Peggy Harris who helped plan the ceremony.

The cross was placed upright in the ground with a purple robe and a crown of thorns situated upon it.

Dr. Malone Chandler, the Riverview Baptist pastor, stood in front of the very church that he built himself and joined with his congregation in singing to the commemorative spectacle, Harris said.

Harris said the thought of Christ’s suffering brought tears to her eyes.

“We owe him so much,” she said. “Where would we be without him?”

The Raising of the Cross of Jesus at Riverview Baptist will usher in Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after his crucifixion.