It was cold and rainy as Rev. Ira Acree and members of his Greater St. John Bible Church took to the streets in prayer.
The walk – held last weekend – began in front of the church at 1256 N. Waller Ave. Church members and Austin residents walked through nearby blocks praying and testifying to their faith. It was the 39th day of the church’s 40-day campaign “Vision Stimulus” – held for the third year to help raise spiritual awareness in Austin.
“I think within this community, our intentions are to help people build people’s faith,” said Terrence Ellery.
Ellery and Greg Walker were co-leaders for the church’s 40-day campaign and worked together to organize the prayer walk.
“Austin needs this because we push people to look at faith and fitness,” said Walker. “We need to raise the awareness about foreclosure, and a lot of people here in Austin are unemployed and unhealthy.”
Acree, a community activist and pastor for over 20 years, said he and his church want to make it clear to Austin that they care.
His newly released book, Man in the Mirror, was just one step to challenging Austin residents to take their community back.
“Today was all about focusing on divine intervention,” Rev. Acree said April 16th. “We went outside in the streets hoping that our prayers bring peace into Austin. We are hoping that our presence will send a subtle message to neighbors. We want to show our love in a non-confrontational matter.”
Acree said he was proud of the nearly 50 people who participated in the prayer walk despite the weather.
“The difference was this year is that they did not stray away, they clinged on,” he said, noting the range of ages of the participants. Some were as young as 2.
“A lot of young guys in the community were watching as we walked through to reclaim our neighborhoods,” said Walker. “I was amazed to see some of the people look out of their windows and pray with us. I think they were inspired by what we were doing.”
Acree said the church plans another prayer walk around Austin when the weather is warmer. And he anticipates the crowd will be even larger.
“I’m feeling very excited, and I’m very proud of the young men that organized the event,” he said. “I’m hoping we’ve touched some lives here in Austin, and we will continue to do so.”