May 25, 1995 in Features

Local Christians March To Show Unity

Ward Sanderson Correspondent

When a London, England, church congregation decided to take their worship service outside and down the street, the March for Jesus was born.

That was in the early 1980s. The annual celebration first hit the Lilac City in 1993, and organizers are again preparing to take their message to the streets of downtown Spokane come Saturday.

“This is not a protest,” said the Rev. Keith Jones, a Pentecostal minister and emcee of this year’s march. “It’s not what we’re against, it’s who we’re for. That’s Jesus.”

Last year, about 25 million Christians participated worldwide. In Spokane alone, 8,000 people joined together to march, sing, wave banners and publicly proclaim their faith. That was twice the number of local marchers in 1993, and Jones is expecting that figure to increase again.

The reason? Jones said Christians of all denominations are putting long-held doctrinal differences aside and focusing on the source of their faith.

“I believe these days we’re not seeking the church, but the kingdom of God,” he said. “Churches are embassies. They don’t answer to themselves.”

Jones doesn’t think the call to unity was initiated by the faithful, though. He said real unity - whether it be religious, racial or otherwise - is beyond the capability of people alone and can only be initiated by a higher power.

“I can’t intellectualize how to love my brother, but the Bible tells me to,” he said. “You can’t teach unity. It’s not a matter of mind, it’s a matter of mind and heart. Education won’t save the human race. Jesus Christ will.”

Anyone wanting to participate is invited, Jones said. Marchers will meet at 10 a.m. on the east side of the old Spokane Coliseum. The procession departs at 11 a.m., slowly heads toward the downtown area and ends up at Riverfront Park at about noon. Prayers, singing, worship and special messages will follow.

Parking will be limited, so marchers are encouraged to carpool to the Coliseum.

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