“I am circling Selma and covering it in prayer. Today is my first walk on my tenth coverage of every street and house. It’s roughly 250 miles per trip and it takes about six months. I pray for every home, and that God will bring salvation and give them hope. Our city is broken–with drug addicts and homeless men. They have no hope.
I go into yards and onto porches to talk with young men. I tell them, ’Here is hope and you don’t have to live the way you’re living. At the cross, Jesus took care of where you are, no matter why you are there. Come to him and he will give you a life worth living. God is at work here.”
I am 73 and have been a pastor for 46 years. I first carried the cross in early in the summer of 1987. The first steps were over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. My knees were shaking so hard that I didn’t know if I was going to make it across the bridge. I was terrified.
I lost my wife five years ago. We were married for 45 years and had a tremendous marriage. She was the only one I ever kissed. I lost a lot when I lost her, but God is still at work and I kept going. I am still a blessed man.
In 2017, the mayor of Uniontown asked me to carry the cross around his city. My wooden cross weighed 65 pounds. I hurt my back, and my chiropractor said I had to get a lighter cross. The one I carry now is made out of PVC pipe and weighs 24 pounds.
I send out a report after every walk. Today will be my 496th report since June of 2017. I try to walk every other day. Some of these roads are dangerous with almost zero shoulder, but people watch out for me. I have done this so long that most of the city knows me and the cross. They honk and wave.
I preach every Sunday at Bethel Church in Selma, but walking and carrying the cross changed my life. I have more purpose and meet people where they are. I also circle the city every Tuesday morning, praying with a Black pastor. If the church doesn’t go beyond the four walls, it is not the church. We have to get rid of our walls in our churches, houses, and cars. We pass through areas and neighborhoods of great need and never touch them. We are the church, we don’t go to church.
A man living on an Indian reservation in Montana flew down here and asked me to carry the cross there. He said, ‘You don’t know what broken is until you come here.’ He was right. I have been twice and I am going back this summer. I did 13 miles a day in Montana, along U.S. Highway 2. The reservation is six towns along 84 miles.
There are a lot of problems in our world, and I hear people my age say they don’t want to live in this time, but I don’t want to live any other time. God is still here and there is still a lot to live for.
If God can use me, he can use anyone. From ages eight through 21, I had stomach ulcers from the fear of people. I didn’t know what I was going to do in life, but I knew it couldn’t have anything to do with talking to people. God had other plans.
God keeps telling me there’s hope, no matter how far gone or how impossible things seem. Our nation is in trouble, but we can turn it around.”