Members from several local churches made a pilgrimage down Main Street on Saturday for a “Bless the City” prayer walk.
A crowd of about 125 gathered at the BB&T parking lot on North Main Street shortly before 3 p.m. for the event, which was hosted by Fireside Ministries.
Pastor Larry Johnson said the church first held the annual event three years ago and recently expanded it to include other churches.
“We just wanted it to be for everybody,” and invited about 70 other organizations while preparing for the event.
He estimated that about seven different memberships were represented in the crowd.
The purpose of the walk is just as it sounds — to pray for the city.
“We pray our way down the street,” he said, and at the Blackmon Amphitheater where the event culminates.
“We pray for the businesses, the churches, the schools,” as well as all the law enforcement agencies and city leaders, he said.
“We pray for the entire community.”
Johnson said the concept is based on a Bible verse Jeremiah 29:7. “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city,” he quoted.
Mount Airy Mayor David Rowe spoke before the group started walking, thanking his “brothers and sisters in Christ,” for their prayers.
“We need every bit of prayer you can muster,” he said.
With a Mount Airy Police Department escort, the group walked up Main Street, many wearing t-shirts printed with “Bless the City”on the front and “We Want God in Our City,” on the back.
The downtown sidewalks were filled with folks who watched the group walk past and took the occasional picture.
One spectator hollered out “thank you.”
Angela Abbas and Analysa Johnson, members of Fireside Ministries, made their way toward the Blackmon Amphitheater together.
“We felt the need to come out and support everyone in the community,” Abbas said, adding that Johnson had undergone back surgery only four days prior but didn’t want to miss the event.
Robert Giesbers, a member of North Main Church of Christ, said the event is positive beyond its mission of blessing the city because it unifies churches.
Of the “tens and tens” of churches in the area, “they tend not to get along together,” he said. At the “Bless the City” event, they are together with a shared focus.
“We’re not here to fight doctrine, we’re here to pray for the city.”
From the Blackmon Amphitheater stage, Mount Airy City Councilman Jim Armbrister delivered his second proclamation of the day, dubbing Saturday as “Bless the City Day.”
Other city leaders spoke, including Shirly Brinkley, Mount Airy city councilwoman.
The event culminated with an impassioned prayer led by Johnson, who faced representatives from the local fire department, emergency services, police department and sheriff’s office.
Recognizing the sacrifices made by those who keep the city safe, Johnson said “We each need to recognize that someone is on our side, that someone is for us, not against us.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.