Local News

Locals Keeping Eye on Promise Keepers in Washington

Posted October 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Promise keepers is a grassroots, men's movement that crosses color and economic lines. The group is in the nation's capital this weekend, with a goal of gathering the biggest group of Christian men in recent history.

Thousands of those converging on Washington will be North Carolinians. Some Promise Keepers members departed Friday afternoon from a Raleigh church. At Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, 180 members departed at about 6 p.m. Friday. Those headed north for the rally say the gathering promises to be an historic event.

Even members of the Christian Motorcycle Association made a trek to Washington. One member, Dr. David Williamson, said there would likely be as many as 10,000 motorcylists participating in the event.

Regardless of their mode of transportation, most members say they share the same goals about the Promise Keepers organization and rally. Member Joel McDaniel says it's all about commitment.

Those who can't attend the rally can watch it on a satellite feed at several area churches. Grey Stone Baptist in Durham is among those offering the feed. Many of those watching will be members' wives.

Some have criticized the Promise Keepers for not allowing women to join, but most of the wives WRAL-TV5'sAmanda Lambtalked to said they support the group's mission. Elaine Williamson says she feels her life is better because of her husband's involvement with the group.

Local members say the real challenge can be finding a way to bring what they learn home to their communities. Promise Keeper Wade Bowick says he will pray about that.

Talking to members of the Promise Keepers, Lamb says one gets the impression the weekend gathering will be a very positive event. But there have been some controversies surrounding it. The National Organization for Women, in particular, has expressed concern over women's exclusion from the group. There is also some concern that the Promise Keepers will become a political organization. The group has, in the past, taken a very public stand on several social issues such as abortions and gay rights.

Photographer:Joe Frieda