GOOD FRIDAY EVENT … Standing in front of Evergreen Healthcare Center in Montpelier on a cold Good Friday, April 10, 2020, is Braden Saneholtz. His sign says Pray for the Homebound, and he was one of fourteen volunteers who participated in the 2020 Good Friday Prayer Cruise, by holding a sign while families and individuals paused to pray.
By: Rebecca Miller
Nothing is the same right now, in the midst of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. As Christians came closer to the celebrations around Easter, creativity was the word of the hour. “How do we do this without physically gathering?” “Is there a way to have meaningful time together?” “What about…?”
The annual Prayer Walk which has been held for many years in Montpelier was no exception, as during the regular walk the participants always bunch together closely to hear whoever is praying at each of the “stations”.
With huddling closely not being an option at this time, St. John’s Lutheran Pastor Paul Gruetter and House of Prayer Pastor Benaiah Harris along with others who have participated over the years, prayed to come up with a new way to make it happen.
The idea to go in cars surfaced and took hold quickly. On Good Friday, April 10, 2020, approximately 30 cars gathered in the parking lot of the old Pamida store. For the next 15 or 20 minutes they caravanned around town, stopping to pray at fourteen different spots.
Thirteen teens from the St. John’s youth group, plus the secretary of St. Paul’s United Methodist who jumped on the idea right away, were located with one person holding a sign at each station. The signs were made by the Montpelier Church of Christ and each one told the carloads of prayer warriors for what to pray.
Pastor Gruetter shared that being in cars this year actually had it’s benefits, one being that they weren’t limited by how far they could walk. This made it possible to add places like Miller’s Grocery and the school and hospital to the rounds of prayer. The advantage of driving let them cover four or five miles.
He also shared that he had checked with the police department to make sure this was ok to do and to let them know, Gruetter said with a chuckle, “the young person who would be standing out in front of the police station with a sign was not protesting!” Chief Dan McGee was all for it and the only rule for the day was that no one was to get out of their vehicles.
Each group of people, or individual, prayed alone in their cars, but there was a sense of unity as they all knew that everyone in the other vehicles were praying for the same thing at the same time.
The fourteen places, their volunteer sign holders and the prayer theme at each location, were: At Miller’s, Pray for Grocery Workers, held by Blake Bumb; At the hospital, Pray for health care workers, held by Quin Burt who was assisted by his little sister, Emmi Burt;
At the Veteran’s Building, Pray for our military, held by Gage Kidston; At the other side of the fairgrounds, Pray for farmers, held by Joe Burt; At the funeral home, Pray for the grieving, held by Avery Thompson; At Drop Tine, Pray for restaurants, held by Mandy Taylor; At the village building, Pray for village workers, held by Marcy Ruble (St. Paul’s secretary); At the fire station, Pray for firefighters, held by Jamison Grime; At House of Prayer, Pray for churches, held by Tatum Grime; At the police station, Pray for police officers , held by Lyndsi Engels; At Montpelier Church of Christ, Pray for ministers, held by Addi Thompson; At Evergreen Nursing Home, Pray for the homebound, held by Braden Saneholtz; At the bus garage, Pray for our students, held by Katie Taylor; At one end of the school, Pray for teachers, held by Kimme Engels; and At the other end of the school, Pray for staff, held by Tre Hutchison.
This was a quiet event held within each vehicle, not a social event, but all felt it was very meaningful. It was a cold day so the sign holders were “kind of happy” when Pastor Gruetter, who was the “caboose” thanked them and let them know their turn was over and they could go. Gruetter said he felt that people were grateful that others were praying for them.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com