Their aim: to inspire people to pray for the community, and to do their part to make it a better place.
Jason Stockton, pastor of the church on Martha Berry Highway, said that the idea behind Saturday’s march from the four points of Floyd County was to bring on a “radical change” in the hearts of people in his beloved town.
“We love Rome, and we believe that Rome can be a better place to live than it already is,” said Stockton. “So we’re just praying for God to do something special here.”
Stockton said the initial idea for the walk — which included volunteers from the Alabama border and the Polk, Chattooga and Bartow county lines — came from his journey last year with a small group walking from the Bartow County line to the Alabama border. He said his 2011 walking trip inspired him to think about looking at Rome a different way.
“When I did that and you see ... most people’s trash that they throw out is also their treasure,” Stockton said. “So when you’re walking you see drug paraphernalia, you see condoms, you see everything on the side of the road. And it opens your eyes. A lot of times when you just drive through a city, your eyes aren’t open to see what’s really going on in that city. But when you walk it and pray for it, it opens your eyes.”
Walkers had started out in the early morning hours on Saturday to get to the statue of Romulus and Remus at the Rome City Auditorium. Later on Saturday evening the church sponsored a free worship and prayer service.
In all, the groups who came from the north, south, east and west traveled more than 100 miles by foot, and did so in just less than 6 hours.
“The people who came out here to participate in today’s walk are an army and they love a challenge,” said Stockton. “We’ve been doing a series (of sermons) called ‘We See a City’ and part of that series is to see Rome as God sees Rome. Our mission and vision at Life Church is Rome. We want to see God do something crazy and radical in Rome, Ga. And we believe God is going to do that.”