at the March for Jesus
In this chapter, we step outside the confines of Mississippi congregations to join in a performance of street–level benevolence at the 1999 Golden Triangle Region March for Jesus. The March for Jesus is an international event celebrated annually in late spring. In recent years, event organizers have dramatically changed the March for Jesus to center on benevolence and outreach within local communities sponsoring a march. In what follows, we explore the planning and execution of this one–day event in the Golden Triangle Region. We draw on first–hand observations of the march, as well as the reflections of a pastor who served as an organizer for the event. This ethnographic foray enables us to draw detailed comparisons between religious benevolence undertaken at this event and congregational relief initiatives discussed in preceding chapters. The 1999 march challenged two significant dimensions of denominationally based faith–based initiatives in the Golden Triangle Region: the emphasis on spiritual supplication rather than material ministry and the racialized cleavages that are embedded in the religious landscape.
The March for Jesus in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle Region has long given public expression to the spiritual convictions of area Christians. Initially conceived in London in 1987 by leading evangelicals who wished to recapture the bygone practice of street–level evangelism, the March for Jesus was designed to promote public prayer through massive, revivalistic marches in local communities on the Saturday before