BRADENTON -- The deeper meaning behind Jesus' final words will be the focus of today's ecumenical Good Friday worship from noon to 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 603 11th St. W..
Sponsored by the Manatee Ministerial Association, the indoor service features seven local Christian ministers addressing the "Seven Last Words From the Cross" and music by Loving Hands Corale, directed by Nancy Wilson.
The Rev. Dr. Ray Hundley from First Church of the Nazarene, a retired State College of Florida religion professor, will speak on the theme of love, drawing from the verse John 19:25-27. The Rev. Tom Winter of Elwood Park Baptist Church will address forgiveness from Luke 23:32-38, while the Rev. Dr. Adam Zele of First United Methodist Church will speak about reunion in Luke 23:46.
Paradise, from Luke 23:39-43, is the topic of the Rev. Dr. Joey Mimbs of Bethel Baptist Church, and the Rev. William Pierson of Joy Fellowship will consider loneliness from Mark 15:33-34. Father Frank McGrath of CITI Ministries will talk about triumph from John 19:30 and the Rev. Dr. Wayne Blaser of Westminster Presbyterian will speak on human needs from John 19:28.
"This Good Friday service calls attention to the community of the sacrifice of Christ who died on the cross for all men. It is a part of my journey during Holy Week of identifying with the great and epochal events of Christ during His last week among us," said the ministerial association secretary, the Rev. Dr. Herb McMillian, associate pastor of First Church of the Nazarene.
On Easter Sunday, worship will be held 6:30 a.m. at the amphitheater in Riverwalk, sponsored jointly with the Hernando de Soto Historical Society.
The Rev. Paul Scheele, chaplain of the Water's Edge retirement community, will preach and the Loving Hands Men's Chorale will provide special music.
The Rev. Dr. Wendall Wilson, executive director of Loving Hands Ministry, will preside over both services.
"I just believe that we need to make Jesus belong to the community. It's a great opportunity to remember what He did to accomplish our salvation," Wilson said.
"We want to keep that alive in our community. It's one of the traditions and it's a message that never gets old."
Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7027, or tweet@DeeGrahamBH.