Couple ready to walk 200 km prayer route through Nelson Mandela Bay
On the 4th of November Bishop Eric Pike and his wife Joyce, started a 2ookm Prayer Pilgrimage through Nelson Mandela Bay(NMB) to launch the city’s unique Nehemiah Prayer route.
The couple in their 80s have plenty of walking cred, they have both completed 780 km Camino pilgrimage through France to Spain twice. Bishop Eric also undertook a prayer walk around the periphery of the city In the past, which touches every ward of Nelson Mandela Bay and tells the story of the past and present role of the church in the city.
The Pikes together with Pastor Mark Upman set out from St Margaret’s Anglican church in Summerstrand on their first 10km leg. They will walk approximately 10km a day from Monday to Thursday for most of the route which they will finish back at St Margaret’s on Saturday November 30. Each leg of the walk will be anchored by a venue, usually a church where parking and ablutions are available. Bishop Pike says that he is walking because he cares for the city and wants unity in the city, and he wants to see all the circumstances in the wards. Whilst there are riches in P.E, there is extreme poverty, Bishop Pike wants to bring hope and love. Walking together will show that we can rebuild the city together
NMB metro authorities have caught the vision. A police vehicle will drive ahead and behind the walkers, a metro emergency medical service will also be provided on a daily basis. Volunteer marshals will act as guides and logistics overseers each day, they will be well equipped to point out landmarks and tell stories that have shaped the area. This walk could contribute immensely to tourism as the church had an important role in this city’s history.
Trevor Jennings emphasised that the 10km launch walks are not for exercise but for prayer. The objectives of the walk is to: 1- for healing and reconciliation of our people. 2- connecting everyone in all 60 wards, walking around to see the state of our city, finding a way forward and fixing it. At the start of each day’s walk, pilgrims will be given a list of five prayer points focusing on taking down key strongholds applicable to the day’s route, such as drugs, prostitution and gang violence in certain areas. As they walk they will also be encouraged to pray into “whatever their eyes are telling them”. The walkers will also be challenged to bring the hope of the Gospel into neighbourhoods where poverty and unemployment have left many feeling hopeless. On the 5th of November, the walkers went to St Stevens and Langa where people had been shot.
The Nehemiah Prayer route, which has been mapped out with GPS coordinates will be open for walkers, runners, cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists. School groups, fellowship groups, other groups and individuals were welcome to experience the prayer route and get first hand insight into the challenges faced by the city. the church plays a vital role in the community, every route has spiritual significance.
Photo Credit Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth