Friday, October 22, 1999

Walk as One honors minister




BY ALLEN HOWARD
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGFIELD TWP. — They will walk as one, in step with the Lord.

        And Tyler James, 11, who has designed a T-shirt to capture the spirit of the freedom walkathon Saturday will be among them.

        Tyler is a member of New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Carthage, where members have agreed to take part in the Walk as One walkathon sponsored by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and National Conference for Community Justice instead of giving gifts to the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr. in observation of his 29th anniversary at the church.

        The lettering, across the front of the T-shirts reads: “Walking in Step with the Lord.” All the members of New Jerusalem who participate in the walk will wear the T-shirts.

        “The words just kind of came to me,” said Tyler, a sixth-grade student at Northwest Middle School in Springfield Township. “My parents were talking about the walk and what it meant. I thought about it and came up with those words.”

        His parents, Antonio and Latressa James, also will be among the walkers.

        Barbara Lynch, the Rev. Mr. Lynch's wife, is coordinating the walkers from the church..

        “We always receive elaborate (anniversary) gifts, but my husband and I thought this would be a better cause. We have about 100 members registered and we will probably get more,” Mrs. Lynch said.

        The walkathon will be held in 11 cities nationally and is designed to bring people together of different races.

        “It is also unique because it continues our longstanding relationship with the national conference,” said Edwin J. Rigaud, president and CEO of the Freedom Center.

        Anne Kindt Allen, coordinator, said about 1,200 walkers are expected. The event will raise funds for the Freedom Center and the National Conference for Community Justice.

        “The 6-mile walk will include historic sites of the Underground Railroad,” she said. “There will be singing groups at each site.”

        Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Public Landing on the Riverfront. The walk will start at 10 a.m. from Yeatman's Cove in Sawyer Point where the singing group MUSE will perform.

        The walkers will cross the river over the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and pass the statue of abolitionist James Bradley on Riverside Drive in Covington. The Summit Country Day School choir will sing at that site.

        The Northwestern Community Chorale will sing as the group walks down Scott Street near Fourth Street. The walkers will come back into Ohio across the Suspension Bridge.

        They will hear songs from the Talent 2000/SCPA at Fifth and Central; the Cinergy Choir at Sixth and Sycamore; the House of God at Sixth and Broadway; The God Squad at Fifth and Broadway; and The Mistics, Vocal Ensemble and the B/J Mass Choir at Yeatman's Cove.

        They will pass the former site of Levi Coffin's Free Store. Mr. Coffin was a black man who owned the store near Sixth and Elm streets about 1840 and the old Dumas Hotel on Broadway near Fourth and Fifth streets which was the heart of social life for blacks.

        Other church groups participating include the Islamic Center of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Chinese Church.

        “We plan to carry out the event, rain, snow or shine,” Mrs. Allen said.

IF YOU GO
        • What: “Walk as One” walkathon.

        • Where: Registration/start at Yeatman's Cove, Sawyer Point Park on the downtown riverfront.

        • When: 9 a.m. Saturday. • Cost: $10.

       



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