Last Saturday, May 14th, I attended the Walk of Faith event in Chinatown (NYC) sponsored by the God Squad (67th Precinct Clergy Council) and the NYCAAPIC (New York Coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Churches). I did this partly out of conviction and partly out of guilt. In the end, it just turned out to be fun. This event was a unity walk of faith and prayer between AAPI and Black churches something which is greatly needed as the two communities are fairly often in conflict with each other.
The weather cleared up nicely and I found parking easy enough around Seward Park, the meeting point. I drove in from NJ where I live. I would say some fifty to a hundred people were there including quite a bit of local media. I met a young lady from Voice of America in DC. After some prayer, introductions and speeches, we started the walk stopping at about five different locations for prayer and reflection. As we walked, one pastor led a chant, "Love God … love our neighbor." The first stop was quite emotional as it was near a memorial in honor of Christina Yuna Lee, who was stabbed to death inside her Manhattan Chinatown apartment. A student from NYU led the prayer with tears and moved us all. The next stop was very interesting because it was at a 3-story wall mural painted on the wall of the New York Chinese Alliance Church facing Delancey St. I had not seen nor heard of this before. It is probably the largest AAPI mural in the city. Pastor Steve Ko, whose wedding I attended years ago, came out and gave us some words of encouragement along with other pastors. The third stop was prayer at the Bowery Mission after which I had to leave the walk and retrieve my car to park in another location. So, I missed the fourth and last stop at the AAPI Yarn Mural of Stand, Speak, Shape. Miracle of all miracles, I found a parking spot right on Hester St., half a block from OCM, the final stop for a luncheon fellowship. I started using the ParkNYC parking app on my iPhone recently and although it doesn't always work, it is good and more convenient than feeding the meter with coins you don't have. It was $4 per hour or $10.50 for two. I paid for one. The lunch was a blessing especially after walking around town a lot. There were more introductions and sharing. Some local politicians were there including State Senator John Liu.
Not knowing what to expect but doing my part to demonstrate some solidarity and unity with others, this Walk of Faith turned out to be more of a blessing than I thought. Walking around Chinatown like that was a surreal experience (I usually drive around). I met some old friends and made some new ones. I was able to park without much difficulty. I saw things I'd never seen before. The weather was fine. We even got some press because there was a brief mention of the Walk on 1010 Wins Sunday morning. Reminds me of the Scripture: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:33 NIV). There will be more Walks of Faith, the next one to be in Brooklyn. Will you join me?