Members of a newly formed Christian organization called CrossWalk America could be seen walking with purpose along the highways of Payson Thursday on their way to Washington, D.C.
The ecumenical group began walking across the United States on Easter Sunday to publicize the efforts to reclaim the core values of the Christian Faith. The CrossWalk America Team will walk for more than four months and cover 2,500 miles from Phoenix through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, culminating in Washington, D.C.
Thousands of people will be involved in the walk in a variety of different capacities along the route, including local churches supporting the effort.
Local walkers from Payson's United Methodist Church joined the CrossWalk America team on the outskirts of town Thursday afternoon.
"I can see how it could be tiring," said Brad Bolt, education director for the United Methodist Church. "But once you start walking, the company you're in is invigorating. It gives you energy."
The group came through Payson after five days and more than 100 mile of walking to higher altitudes north from Phoenix.
"It's day five and we're feeling great," said Rebecca Glenn, one of the CrossWalk America organizers. "Payson has given us an outstanding welcome. We're thrilled to have the Payson United Methodist Church walkers join us for a compassionate, inclusive witness to Christianity."
Organizers formed the nationwide walk to answer their concerns about the image of Christianity in the U.S. They hope to dispel what they see as a growing trend by some members of society or other faiths that portray Christianity in a divisive and polarizing light. The CrossWalk America team hopes their effort will help reclaim the core values of the Christian Faith - a faith they consider is first and foremost about the just and unconditional Love of God for all people and Christ's commandments to "Love God" and to "Love our Neighbors as We Love Ourselves."
For more information about CrossWalk America and to see the entire route to be walked, log onto www.crosswalkamerica.org.