Salvation Army in Durham, N.C., joins in prayer march for peace, reconciliation

By: Dan Childs

When Aalayah Sanders heard “a gentle voice from the Lord,” she was moved to action.

Sanders, the public relations director for The Salvation Army in Durham, North Carolina, was troubled along with the rest of the nation in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor earlier this year. She was also a little troubled when someone wondered aloud where the nation’s churches were in this time of national soul-searching.

“That bothered me,” she said. “And then, very quietly, I heard a gentle voice from the Lord telling me to gather the church together in prayer.”

She reached out to a local pastor and shared a vision that had begun to form in her mind, a way that believers could raise their voices not only in protest against racial injustice but also in an expression of their desire for peace and community. As Sanders’ vision crystallized, she began to ask others in the Raleigh-Durham faith community if they would join her in a public call for peace and reconciliation.

In the One Durham prayer march on Saturday, July 11, The Salvation Army was joined by representatives of the Duke Chapel, the Apostolic Church of Revival, the Six: Eight Church and civic dignitaries including State Senator Erica Smith.

Marchers made their way through the streets of the city, arriving at the headquarters of the Durham Police. There the community’s spiritual leaders prayed for peace and reconciliation for our nation and for its judicial system. Participants called for a unified community and chanted, “One Durham, one prayer.”

She said she was pleased to see the breadth of support from across the community. “It was definitely a mixed crowd,” she said. “The police supported our march and gave us an escort. It was absolutely amazing. We had tons of support from the police as well as politicians.”

Sanders said several local pastors and councilmen have voiced their support for another march and plans are underway for an event before the end of the year.