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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

PRAISING GOD: A community chorus made up of members of various local Christian churches raised their voices in song during Saturday’s “March for Jesus” at the county courthouse in Monticello.

Marchers Take to the Streets
Of Monticello for Jesus

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — June 13, 2000 -- If there’s one voice people up and down Broadway in Monticello Saturday could hear, it was definitely Bernice Musgrave’s.
The Woodridge resident was waving her hands in the air and shouting out phrases like, “Peace be unto you!” and “Jesus is Lord!”
And the stares that engendered didn’t matter to her one bit. In fact, it more likely than not encouraged her.
“I’m letting the world know I’m for Jesus,” said a slightly hoarse Musgrave as she stepped off Broadway and headed for the county courthouse’s green lawn. “I want to lift up the name of Jesus.”
Though Musgrave may have drowned out even the loudspeakers blaring Christian music from car rooftops, she certainly was not alone in her enthusiasm for sharing her faith with the residents of Monticello and Sullivan County.
Between 200 (estimated Monticello police) and 500 people (estimated organizers) joined Musgrave Saturday morning to proclaim Jesus Christ, the Son of God according to Christian belief, during the annual “March for Jesus.”
Also called “Jesus Day 2000,” the theme this year was “A Day on Earth as It Is in Heaven.” Marchers said they wanted to see a day when “no one goes hungry, no child is fatherless, no one suffers alone and the streets are filled with singing.”
But, said the song booklet marchers were given, “we’re not there yet.”
So this year, marchers weren’t just dancing, shouting and singing their way up Broadway like the past few years. They also had food with them to hand out to whomever needed or wanted it – three truckloads’ worth, in fact.
March organizer Marge Foster of White Lake explained that the food was donated from individuals and collected at grocery stores to be distributed to anyone. Whatever was left was headed for the 26 area food pantries and soup kitchens.
But, “what pleases me most of all,” said Foster, “is that one day out of the year, all the churches in the county come together . . . and put all of our differences aside – and that’s the Lord.”
Indeed, from Hankins to Monticello to Woodbourne, many of the 60+ Christian churches in Sullivan County were represented.
And some people brought more than just themselves.
The Livingston Manor-based Manna Mission, for example, piled kids into a wagon entitled “Fishers of Men” (a reference to Jesus’ command to His disciples) and paraded down Broadway as the sole “float” of the parade.
“We were inspired by the Holy Spirit,” said Marie Dubovsky, who explained that she and others put the float together just the night before. “It was ordained of God. We’re here to glorify Him and what He’s doing in Manor.”
Jane McLean of Smallwood, a member of the White Lake Reformed Presbyterian Church, spent a little more time on her project for the march. With the help of several friends, she quilted a banner with the theme of the march on it, along with several corresponding verses from the Psalms in the Bible.
But her inspiration was equally divine, she said.
“The Lord told a friend of mine [to quilt the banner],” she remarked. “So I felt it was an opportunity to use my talents for the Lord. It wasn’t a struggle.”
Eventually, marchers gathered on the lawn of the county courthouse to join a community chorus in praising God and to hear non-denominational messages from area ministers.
“We have unity, togetherness and peace,” observed Lillian Suarez of Monticello and Anthony Black of South Fallsburg as they listened to the chorus. “We’ve been marching for Jesus. He’s our Lord, and we want to lift the world up to the Lord.”
“God’s just blessed us today,” agreed Foster.


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