Christians from a wide variety of racial, cultural and denominational backgrounds will unite Saturday, Aug. 25 for OneRace Stone Mountain, an event of worship and prayer for racial reconciliation that will begin with a climb to the top of the mountain.
"God's solution for a divided nation is a united church," said Bishop Garland Hunt,senior pastor of The Father's House in Norcross, Georgia, and co-executive director of the OneRace Movement. "Although this event will be held outside Atlanta, we will have participants from around the South, and we hope it becomes a national movement."
OneRace Stone Mountain strives to embody the nonviolent spirit of Martin Luther King. Almost exactly 55 years ago, on Aug. 28, 1963, he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the March on Washington.
In a classic refrain from the speech, King said "let freedom ring" from various locations around the country, including "Stone Mountain of Georgia."
His mention of Stone Mountain was deeply symbolic. Although today it ranks as the top tourist attraction in Georgia, it was the site of the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915. The mountain, which rises 825 feet above the suburban Atlanta landscape, has huge carvings of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on its face.
"We're inviting people to take a stand for Christian unity and against racism," said Billy Humphrey, co-executive director of the OneRace Movement and director of Atlanta's International House of Prayer. "If the church doesn't take its rightful place and deal with these issues, someone else will."
Organizers of OneRace Stone Mountain have placed special emphasis on getting young adults involved. The Millennial Ascent, beginning at 9 a.m., will get things started. Young adults, accompanied by pastors, will climb to the top of the mountain to renounce racism and foster reconciliation and revival.
The rest of the event will begin simultaneously at the bottom and the top of the mountain (with a video stream connecting them) at 10 a.m. Different segments will feature worship, healing and repentance, reconciliation, unity and justice. The Millennials will return to the base after the first segment. Christian artists including Montell Jordan, Tasha Cobbs, Travis Greene, Eddie James, United Pursuit and Shane and Shane will perform.
OneRace is a movement of nearly 200 churches and ministries. Many of them will participate in a 40-day fast leading up to the event Aug. 25.
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