CALGARY – Truro Mayor Bill Mills was in Southern Alberta yesterday as the honourary mayor for the first March for Jesus in Canada in more than a decade.
"They are a little bit enthralled with the fact I am a Christian mayor and I’m public with that," Mills told the Truro Daily News en route to a parade. "I guess they appreciate that."
Mills was joined by Alderman Rick McIver to cut the symbolic ribbon to open the march. Following the 90-minute march there was to be six hours of celebration, including giveaways, worship, prayer and performances by three Christian bands. Organizers were expecting 15,000 people and the budget for the event was expected to be more than $120,000.
"This event will bring Christians from diverse backgrounds to celebrate together in unity love and under one name, the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth," march co-ordinator Jim Blake said. "No matter your age, race, colour or financial background, if you love Jesus Christ and proclaim Him as your saviour and Lord, you are welcome to come."
A release from the group says Mills "is a very well-known advocate for Biblical values and views and is one of the most well-known voices in politics regarding moral issues."
Mills was contacted by the pastor of Street Church in January about being the church’s guest at the event free of charge. Initially he was hesitant, not wanting to get into the frenzy that erupted in town a few years ago over his comments about the gay pride flag.
"I’m not here to stir up trouble," he said yesterday.
But after thinking about it and talking it over with some people Mills decided to take them up on the offer.
"It’s been a neat ride for me. I had 50 to 60 people greet me at the airport," he said.
Mills said he has followed his faith for decades.
"I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking for help by praying to God," he said.
While out west Mills is staying with Tim Hearn, the former CEO and chairman of the board of Imperial Oil. Mills will be spending some extra time out west visiting his daughters Amy and Andrea.
The weather was nice in Calgary yesterday with the temperature up around 20C, which was welcomed by the locals who have been dealing with wet weather for a few weeks.
"People are excited. They think I brought the good weather from the east, I’ll take that compliment," Mills laughed.