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Holy strollers: Lenten walkers ponder faith journey, share in fellowship, and exercise

DeKALB – A group of DeKalb area Christians is taking their Lenten walk with Jesus Christ to the streets.

Cathy Foelske, the parish nurse with the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb is hosting a Lenten prayer walk at 10 a.m. every Friday that is open to anyone.

The walk begins in the atrium of the church at 324 N. Third St., with Foelske reading a psalm and prayer.

She then asks those gathered a question or two based on the psalm.

Walkers discuss the question and other topics during their morning jaunt, with the focus on taking time to discuss their faith journey.

Foelske’s been with First Lutheran since 1999, but this is the first year she has hosted a Lenten prayer walk.

She decided this year it would be a good opportunity for self-reflection and spiritual nurturing.

“Our body is the temple of the holy spirit and we need to take care of it,” Foelske said. “We also need to take care of the spiritual faith.”

Foelske is a member of the Parish Nurse Ministry, a national group recognized by the American Nurses Association.

Parish nurses are those who focus on the intentional care of the spirit as part of promoting health and preventing or minimizing illness in a faith community.

Before the group stepped-off for their 40-minute walk on March 21, Foelske read from Psalm 121.

“The Lord will keep your going out and coming in from this time on and forevermore,” she read from Psalm 121:8.

Foelske asked them to consider a time when they had a proverbial door shut on them, or a time when one opened.

For walker Sharon Williams, the question reminded her of her recent time in the hospital. She called an ambulance after having chest pain, thinking it was only acid reflux.

Instead she was told she needed to go to the hospital in case she was having cardiac problems.

“I was really upset because I didn’t think I needed to be there,” Williams said.

She was asked to take a stress test, which didn’t reveal any of the problems suspected, but did uncover that she needed medication for high blood pressure.

“To me, having to be there even though I didn’t think I needed to be was a door closing,” Williams said. “But finding out I had something I needed to take care of was one opening.”

Dee Anderson,of Sycamore said she’s been walking on her own in her basement, but decided to join the prayer walk when the weather started to improve. She said being outside with the fellowship of other people is a welcome change.

“I wanted to do this because it all goes together, the spiritual, physical and mental,” Anderson said.

The walks will happen every Friday through Good Friday on April 18, the Friday before Easter. On that Friday, walkers will be asked to walk in silence.

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