Several hundred thousand Christians took to the streets of 142 U.S. cities last month, voicing praise and repentance in the first nationwide “March for Jesus.” In one California city, several residents of a nursing home arranged to have a trailer pull them along the parade route—beds and all. Pop singer Amy Grant marched in Nashville along with 15,000 other Christians. And in Jackson, Tennessee, the mayor proclaimed May 23 “March for Jesus” day.

Between 250,000 and 300,000 Christians across the country participated in praise marches. On the same day, an estimated 300,000 believers marched in cities throughout Europe, including 50,000 in London and in Berlin, says U.S. March for Jesus director Tom Pelton.

The praise-march movement started in 1987 in Great Britain. Organizers say the goal is to get the church outside its walls to make a positive statement for Christ. While a few marches have been held in U.S. cities in the past (CT, Oct. 28, 1991, p. 48), this was the first time the event was staged on a national scale.

Pelton noted that many of the marches were intentionally routed through rough, inner-city neighborhoods. “I think it is not coincidental that the marches came a couple of weeks after the riots,” said Pelton. “God is calling us back into the inner cities to be salt and light.”

Next year’s national March for Jesus is planned for June 12. Pelton said that 1,000 cities are expected to host marches, with a total participation of an estimated one million. The first worldwide March for Jesus is planned for 1994, when organizers hope to stage marches in all of the world’s capital cities.

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