The Appeal Democrat - Marysville, California  2/19/99

Taking it to the streets

By Mark Smith - Appeal Democrat

Pastor Jimmy Hood wasn’t about to be dissuaded by a little rain.

The Baptist Pastor, one of a host of street preachers who descended on Marysville and Yuba City Thursday, exhorted pedestrians and passing drivers on Plumas Street to listen to his plea for spiritual redemption.

Hood and four members of his congregation traveled from Columbus, Ohio, for the Third Annual Street Preachers’ Convention and West Coast Blitz.

The estimated 200 street preachers here for the convention will travel today to Sacramento for a rally on the Capitol steps. Saturday morning the preachers will head from Bible Baptist Church for a day in San Francisco.

"I didn’t fly all the way out here for a vacation," Hood said. "We preached last year in rain and like to froze to death. The weather doesn’t deter us."

As Hood shouted lines of Scripture and children handed our leaflets, Yuba City resident Sally Herr stepped outside of a dental office and shook her head.

"I’m a dedicated Christina," Herr said. "But I don’t feel we really need to yell in the streets."

Herr watched the mixed reactions of passers-by, who either accepted the leaflets with a smile or irritably waved the preachers away.

"People don’t like people being too bossy with them," Herr said. "But I wish them well. I believe in free speech."

Olivehurst resident Sarah Wood quizzically accepted a cartoon pamphlet entitled "This Was Your Life!" and put it in her pocket.

"I’m just coming from the doctor’s," Wood said. "I don’t know what they’re doing. Everybody to their own."

In Marysville, Friday Night Live intern Anita Villa listened to the gathering of preachers in front of the post office on C Street.

"It’s awesome," said Villa, who lives in Sutter. "I’m a Christian. The more people who are saved, the safer the world will be."

Other groups of street preachers gathered at Ninth Street and B Street in Marysville. At the post office in Marysville, the preachers held aloft worn Bibles and sang "The Old Rugged Cross."

Complaints from motorists brought Marysville Police Officer Randy Elliott to the post office to warn the street preachers. Dressed in a yellow rain slicker, Elliott instructed the preachers to stay out of the street.

"They called about here and Ninth and B," Elliott said. "A truck driver there said he had to lock up his brakes (to avoid a preacher). Everybody I talk to denies it. I have to warn them."

Many of those on the street corners came from Bible Baptist Church in Linda. Joanne Cole, whose son died of a drug overdose, said she was compelled to take her faith to the streets.

"I have to tell them to be careful of that first drink," said Cole, as her son-in-law, Steve Parker, preached across the street. "We just led one lady to the Lord. Others aren’t accepting of it., Even from a child."

One street preacher, Earl Ankrom, said becoming a Christian helped him overcome a persistent problem with alcohol. The Ohio resident’s preaching could easily be heard a block away.

"It’s not about acoustics," Ankrom said. "I’ve been preaching about seven years on the street. I preach from the diaphragm."