They came en masse holding hands and signs to march for a common cause - their belief in God.
“It shows unity,” said Jennifer Boston, a student at Washington State University. “You probably wouldn’t know there are this many Christians out there.”
Boston was among 8,000 to 10,000 people who gathered at the Spokane Arena on a sunny Saturday morning to join in the annual “March for Jesus,” which took place in more than 600 cities across the nation, and in hundreds of locations around the world. The march originated in London in the 1980s, but only started in Spokane three years ago.
Several people said good weather helped with the turnout. But organizers said they expected thousands of people regardless of the sunshine.
“If it was raining, everybody that loves Jesus would still be here,” said organizer Ruth Hamp.
Mary Lee moved to Spokane from Seattle a year ago to be closer to her grandchildren, and teach them to love God.
“My seven grandchildren don’t know Jesus,” Lee said. “This is the way they must know.”
Spokane’s Marcella Rodriguez brought her three grandchildren, ages 3, 6, and 7, to teach them “the power of prayer.” She wanted to show them there are positive things they can get involved in, despite the negativity she sees in the news.
“It just renews your faith that there will be a better tomorrow,” Rodriguez said.
Most people wound their way on foot through downtown streets to Riverfront Park, but others glided by in rollerblades, strolled along in red wagons with boom boxes, or pedaled by on tricycles and bicycles. The group ended up at the park, where they spread out blankets and listened to Christian music the rest of the afternoon.
Korinda Jarvis, 4, of Coeur d’Alene, pushed a stroller with a sign propped over her baby doll that read “All The Children Of The World.”
“How come we have to go so long?” she asked. She and her mom, Kim, moseyed along in the back of the pack.
Jimmy Muniz, of Medical Lake, was pleased to see the diversity of the crowd.
“We’ve got different religions, and different churches uniting together to celebrate one cause.”
Muniz, a member of Promise Keepers, said many things are pulling families apart in the 1990s. But events like the march are a chance for families to renew their commitments to each other, he said.
“We’re showing the community there still are family values left in people,” he said.
Wonder Matlock walked with the Harvest Christian Fellowship group, who held flags with names of different countries in bold print. “Christ is for all people,” Matlock said. “… underneath all the differences, we’re really the same.”
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