For the better part of a year, the Community for Peace and Nonviolence sponsored “Peace Walks.” Leaders of this initiative included Pastor Larry Fourman, Reverend Gilbert Washington, Pastor Michael Patton, André Gingerich Stoner, and Seabie Gavin.
What were they? From 10 pm to midnight once a month, Black and White pastors and church members from several churches gathered at St. Paul Bethel Baptist Church. We spent time in prayer together and often discussed a practical peacemaking skill like “How to Diffuse an Argument” or “How to Engage a Potentially Violent Person.”
Then we walked the neighborhood, in biracial teams of two to four people. We wore yellow baseball caps that said, “Spread the Peace.” We often stopped to talk with neighbors or paused to pray together. We had many conversations with young and old out on the street, often spending time listening and praying with them.
One of the most significant aspects of the time was the relationships that developed between team members from the different churches and across racial lines.
At midnight we gathered together back at St. Paul to debrief, to share stories, and to discuss what we had learned.
by André Gingerich Stoner