Praying for New Orleans, one block at a time by Bruce Nolan for Episcopal News Service:
Millie Campbell, 76 years old, is one of the people praying for New Orleans, a city still recovering from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster and experiencing a murderous crime wave.
A couple of times per week, Campbell and her companion Betty Minor, 69, drive slowly around assigned neighborhoods, praying for their city, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune via Religion News Service.
On a recent trip, Campbell backed her blue Chevrolet away from her spotless brick home. “Oh God,” she said, “we thank you for the blood of Jesus.” Then she cranked the wheel straight, put the car into drive, and headed slowly up Frenchmen Street, one hand on the wheel, the other turned upward toward the heavens.
“Touch this block in the name of Jesus,” she continued. Also in the front seat, Minor filled in the gaps between Campbell’s appeals: “Hallelujah … Glory, glory.”
St. Anna’s Episcopal Church keeps a tally of murders in the city on a huge white board outside the church building, to raise awareness and “name the victims.” Other clergy lead congregations in other ways, and run youth ministries, literacy programs, sports programs, anything to help tamp down crime.
But Campbell and her friends have decided the most powerful thing they can do is drive the city’s streets and pray, as the community does its business, unaware, around them. “We got a problem, but we don’t know how to solve it,” Campbell insisted. “Well, we do,” she said, meaning herself, Minor and their friends. “We’re taking it to the Spirit.”