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March for Jesus going online

Event to take place May 30

The annual March for Jesus, which in past years had people gathering to march in prayer, will take place in their communities on May 30. The march has changed to an online format because of the coronvavirus outbreak.

The event is being held nationwide as a way for communities to celebrate Jesus and has been modified to be a praise walk.

Chuck Swanson, co-chair of the local March for Jesus Mahoning Valley, said usually people from different churches gather in downtown Youngstown and march to the amphitheater, but because of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, people are being asked at 11 a.m. May 30 to walk and pray in their own neighborhood by themselves or in small groups.

“This year will not be a public get-together. We are asking people to participate by praying and singing in their own neighborhoods, keeping safe distance and walking during the hour of 11 a.m. to noon,” he said.

Swanson said the goal is to unite churches in worship to impact their communities with praise, prayer and proclamation.

Organizers said March for Jesus was very popular in the 1980s and ’90s when people marched in their city and spent a moment together in proclamation, prayer and worship to God.

Organizers said the love of Jesus is what is so important as people from all denominations come together.

He said after the walk, people are asked at noon to get on their knees at their home or some location and praise Jesus Christ in unison.

Swanson said more than 30 cities nationwide are scheduled to take part in the virtual event.

He said in the past the group has had as many as 130 churches, with thousands of people turning out. The number of local churches participating is about 50.

The Rev. Gary Frost is leading the effort in the Youngstown area. He has pastored in Youngstown and been active with the Greater Youngstown Coalition of Christians. He said at 1 p.m. each Wednesday, they meet via Zoom online to prepare for the event and also hear from people from other states on what they have planned.

“We will finalize the praise walk / prayer guide on our call prior to May 30. We want to open this up to many more who want to see what we will be doing,” Frost said.

In addition to Youngstown, events also are being planned with participants in Warren and Cleveland.

The event already has been scheduled for next year on May 22, 2021.

For information, visit marchforjesus.com for the local event or info@the marchforjesus.org for the national event.

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