January 17, 2019

Chicago pastors address escalating murder rate

LAKE REGION--Concerned about the escalating murder rate in Chicago, the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) Department held a meeting with the City of Chicago pastors to identify ways the church could help in reducing the murder rate. Glen Brooks, director of Community Engagement for the Chicago Police Department, participated in the August 25 meeting.


Brooks provided an overview of the Chicago Alternative Police Strategy (CAPS) program, stressed the need for strengthening the relationship with the police commander who serves each local church, and requested assistance from churches to share their outside video surveillance of their property to assist with solving crimes. Brooks also cautioned the group to start doing things incrementally and doing it well before expanding. From his experiences, he identified this as the best way to build trust in the community, and for the community to better under the ministries of the church that can assist them.


Michael Horton, Ministerial director for Lake Region Conference, suggested visiting other ministries to glean ideas on how we can strengthen our own ministry. William J. Lee, pastor at Shiloh Church, and Jason North, Youth and Young Adult director for Lake Region Conference, shared how the concept of a unified Adventist church with several locations provided a difference when they were both pastoring in Indianapolis.  R. Clifford Jones, president of Lake Region Conference, emphasized the necessity of increasing awareness before the congregation through biblically based messages as a sermon series.


Because of this meeting, the City of Chicago pastors agreed to create a brochure that would identify the ministries and church locations in the City of Chicago, provide a quarterly engagement activity where each church would go out in the community on the same day, and increase awareness of conscience and justice issues at their local church. In addition, the city of Chicago pastors agreed to strengthen our ongoing initiative of improving police and community relations surrounding each local church and visiting other ministries to glean ideas for improvement of innovation.


In anticipation for the conference’s 2019 theme on Health and Community Engagement, the City of Chicago pastors seek to follow the admonishment found in I John 3:16-18. “Hereby we perceive the love of God, because He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”


Photo caption: Back Row: Jason North, LRC Youth director; Leon Bryant, Adult Ministry director and New Life Church pastor; Marlon Reid, pastor Hyde Park; William Lee, Men’s Ministry director and Shiloh Church pastor; R. Clifford Jones, LRC president; Yvonne Collins, LRC treasurer; Marlon Gregory, pastor of Evanston First and All Nations Downers Grove churches; Front row: Edward Woods III, LRC Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director; Eric Bell, pastor of Maywood and Morgan Park churches; Darlene Thomas, pastor of Beacon of Joy Church; Robert Best, pastor of Stratford Church; Michael Horton, LRC Ministerial director and Emmanuel Church pastor.


Photo by: Paul Young