News Archives

United Methodist walks to Washington for peace rally

1/16/2003

NOTE: Photographs will be available.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A wind-blown Jonathan Meier, senior religion major at Iowa State University in Ames, walks down Illinois Highway 67 during his 1,050-mile journey to Washington for a peace rally. Meier heard his pastor, the Rev. Cindy McCalmont, preach Dec. 22 at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames. McCalmont's sermon was on Mary answering God's call. Although he didn't hear a voice, Meier experienced a strong feeling that he needed to walk to Washington. He started out the next morning without any elaborate planning. . A UMNS photo Eric Rowley/Iowa State Daily. Photo number 03-12, Accompanies UMNS #023, 1/17/03


LINK: Click to open full size version of image
Jonathan Meier, senior religion major at Iowa State University in Ames, covers his face while a tractor-trailer rolls down Illinois Highway 67 during his 1,050-mile journey to Washington for a peace rally. Meier heard his pastor, the Rev. Cindy McCalmont, preach Dec. 22 at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames. McCalmont's sermon was on Mary answering God's call. Although he didn't hear a voice, Meier experienced a strong feeling that he needed to walk to Washington. He started out the next morning without any elaborate planning. A UMNS photo Eric Rowley/Iowa State Daily. Photo number 03-13, Accompanies UMNS #023, 1/17/03
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Walking to Washington from Iowa had not been part of the original plan, Jonathan Meier explains, but coming to a peace rally scheduled for Jan. 18 had been on his calendar.

The senior at Iowa State University in Ames already had a reservation on a bus that community activists had chartered for the rally. He and others were going to join people from all over the country for a march from the west lawn of the Capitol to the Navy Yard, a distance of some 2.5 miles.

But then Meier heard his pastor, the Rev. Cindy McCalmont, preach Dec. 22 at Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames. McCalmont's sermon was on Mary answering God's call. Although he didn't hear a voice, he experienced a strong feeling that he needed to walk to Washington. He started out the next morning without any elaborate planning.

People at the Ames church have found him places to stay - mostly with folks at other United Methodist churches across the country. Meier and his parents are members of Faith United Methodist Church in Spring Valley, Minn.

"Every day I go on, I'm more and more certain this was a calling, and God wanted me to do this," Meier, 20, says in a phone conversation with United Methodist News Service.

His plan was simple: try to walk 40 miles a day. Unaccustomed to that much walking, his feet blistered.

Meier does not carry a sign or placard announcing his mission, but he shares freely with people he meets in transit, including newspaper reporters and photographers in several states.

Because of weather and mountains, he has accepted a few rides. In some places where he had planned to walk, snowplows had covered the road's shoulders, he says. But he estimates that he has walked about 800 miles of the more than 1,050 miles between Ames and Washington.

Braving winter's cold, snow and wind to walk across a significant part of the continent in less than a month has been tough. "It's certainly strengthened my faith," he says.

"I've developed a closer relationship with God," he says. He adds that he has also "discovered the importance of inner peace."

The trip would not have been possible without the help of others, the college senior says. He has focused on walking and meditation while church members have called ahead to find shelter for him and advise him on routes to take.

"I'm starting to feel the interdependence of creation," he says. Three weeks into his trek, the religious studies major was thinking that a life of contemplation might be his calling, although he says such decisions are still in the future and he will continue to rely on God's guidance.

He also says he "wants to take time to consider my own acts and thoughts, and make sure I'm not contributing to the hate and violence."

Back : News Archives 2003 Main



Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.