Local News

Spiritual Group to March on Washington

Posted October 1, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Promise Keepers is a Christian men's organization that was founded in 1990. It started with 72 men in Boulder, Co. and has drawn more than 2.6 million men to its stadium events. Now Promise Keepers hopes to create what they say will be the largest prayer service in history.

The Promise Keepers are planning to march on Washington Saturday, Oct. 4. More than 100,000 men are expected to gather on the Mall to pray for the nation and each other.

Rev. Garland Hunt, pastor, Raleigh International Church, is considered a drum major for racial reconciliation. He drums his gospel message everyday from his "Reconciling Raleigh" show on WAUG radio. Hunt believes many men will make a stand for racial unity and more when they march on Washington this Saturday.

"We're humbling ourselves and praying," said Hunt. "Men on their knees and crying out to God and saying we're sorry for our sins, sorry for the sins of racism, sorry for the sins of prejudice, sorry for the sins of being renegade fathers and not serving as we should in the home."

The Promise Keepers are sponsoring the event. They are men of all ages and races, men who are dedicated to stand for unity through the power of prayer and faith in God.

Not everyone supports Promise Keepers. The National Organization for Women says the group is a movement that is a backlash against the gains of the women's movement. NOW is planning a counter-rally on Saturday. Women WRAL'sKelly Wrighttalked to were either unaware of Promise Keepers or supported the men involved.

"I'm really in favor of anything that will help keep families together and make them stronger," said Rose Sharon Bryant, supporter.

"The man sees a need to develop and become stronger," said Barbara Parker, supporter. "They're networking and I think that's good."

Several bus companies from the area are all booked this weekend, preparing to drive thousands of men from North Carolina to join nearly a million men in Washington.

The exact number of men expected to leave from North Carolina is unknown, but some believe as many as 10,000 from the state will attend. A spokesperson for Greyhound says they have received the largest number of charter requests this decade for this event.