Colton Parish March
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Quiet Witness 71

Bishop Gooden

Procession behind the CrossOn the afternoon of the march, the Vicar of Colton called me into his office. He was a giant of a man and towered over me. He thrust a neatly written letter into my hand with the words, "We've got to call it off!" "Episcopalians," it read, "do not do things like this. It is not dignified to parade our religion down the streets. It will ruin the church in Colton. I beg you to cancel it!"

Call it off

Reading these words made me more determined than ever. Without a moment's hesitation I vowed, "I consider this march like an appointment with God! We can't call it off any more than we could call off a celebration of holy communion!" The day of the Colton Parish march, a sprightly ninety years old Bishop Gooden came early and became excited as he watched us preparing. Chuck Weidman, the Warden at Colton, paraded the Cross in front with our robed choir and people processing behind. The stately and dearly loved Bishop Gooden, with his shepherd's staff in hand, smiled and waved to the crowds as he passed by. "When I'm among the people out of doors," he confided later "I really feel I'm doing the work of an Apostle." "Our quiet witness with the Cross of Christ through town can touch sinners' hearts. It is what we become through Christ, not what we do ourselves that matter."

Touch Sinners Hearts

Processional CrossGod blessed the Colton Parish march not with greater numbers, but with a refreshing newness of Spirit. Chuck Weidman, by carrying the Cross that night past the marbled entrance to his own Bank, was prompted to think about his own commitment to Christ. Later Chuck left the banking business and joined the ranks of the Church Army to tell others of the Savior who meant more to him than wealth. A strange reversal occurred. The lady who had written objecting so vehemently to the march in the first place, became a most enthusiastic supporter. We did not embarrass her by telling her that we had noticed her peering curiously around her curtains as the procession passed by!✞

"Colton Parish March"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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