Hereâ€™s how our new tradition got started. Back in 2009, at the urging of the diocesan office where the young priest Bertie Pearson was working, Episcopal churches in San Franciscoâ€™s Mission District met to discuss possible joint projects. Bertie had pink cheeks and a sweet, pale face with swept-back, jet-black hair; in his formal black clericals he looked like a choirboy dressed up as Johnny Cash. A former DJ and drummer in the Mission music scene, Bertie was completely respectful of tradition, a real believer and still a punk at heartâ€”a punk for God.
Bertieâ€™s mentor at Church of the Advent had suggested creating an outdoor processional liturgy as â€śa public act of repentanceâ€ť for homelessness and street violence and holding it on Good Friday. â€śYou know, the Anglo-Catholics love processions,â€ť Bertie said. â€śSo folks from Advent, St. Johnâ€™s, Holy Innocents and St. Gregoryâ€™s, and I think the Franciscans, did that 2009 Good Friday walk.â€ť