Live Oak —
The first Walk For Christ was held on Saturday, April 19, beginning at Paul Langford Stadium at 10 a.m. It rained at different times, but it didn’t stop thousands from participating. Participants made their way through Live Oak.
The idea for the event came in February when the topic was broached in Bud Smith’s Sunday school class at Westwood Baptist Church about why Christians were being persecuted or blamed for so many things. Someone suggested that a Walk for Christ be held to demonstrate that no matter what, people would stand up and walk for Him.
Many area churches were invited to attend the inaugural meeting where the catchy theme “Who do you follow” was adopted. Churches from Branford, Day, Jasper, Luraville, Mayo, McAlpin, O’Brien, White Springs, and others, began to express interest. A mission statement was conceived as follows: “Opportunity for You to Identify with Christian Unity for Our Community”. They wanted youth groups, Christian athletes, and people who who were unable to walk because of age or physical limitations. What began as a mere suggestion grew into dozens of churches coming together in Christian unity.
“The (Suwannee County) Sheriff’s Office said considering all the people that were in cars or buses or vans, they estimated between 2,800 and 3,200,” said Smith. “The turnout was absolutely amazing. For the weather, it was amazing.”
Some arrived in cars, buses and golf carts. One family even arrived in a tractor.
He said there were folks from Bonifay (in the Panhandle) and even as far south as Ft. Lauderdale.
“It was great. No one was complaining about the weather or anything,” said Randy Nobles of Westwood Baptist Church. “It was awesome. I think there would have been 3,000 more if it had been a beautiful morning, but it was a beautiful morning anyway.”
Nobles said they plan on holding the event every year and hope it will be bigger and better each time. He and others want more towns to become involved.
“I would love to see it go national,” said Nobles. “Get this nation back.”