Bishop Paul S. Morton

*This Easter, when many churchgoers sport new suits and dresses, pastors across the country will be preaching with one article of clothing noticeably absent: their shoes.

Some 5,000 pastors are expected to go barefoot on Easter Sunday to raise awareness about global poverty and help provide shoes for the 300 million people worldwide who lack them.

Sponsored by Samaritan’s Feet, a North Carolina-based ministry that has collected 3 million pairs of shoes to distribute worldwide, the Barefoot Sunday campaign was announced today in Atlanta. The event falls on the 42nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death and will honor the civil rights leader’s legacy. His children, Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Bernice A. King, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, will be among those going barefoot April 4.

“My father stood for the impoverished and Samaritan’s Feet embodies that every day,” Martin Luther King III said in a statement. “This fits the model that my father stood for, and we are honored to continue his legacy.”

Bishop Paul S. Morton, head of the Full Gospel Baptist Church, will be preaching shoeless on Easter, and he expects 2,500 affiliated pastors to join him in supporting the campaign. Other participants include: Stephen J. Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention of America; Bishop James Ingram, presiding prelate of the 10th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Michigan pastor J. Drew Sheard, a bishop-elect in the Church of God in Christ; and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of King’s former congregation, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

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