From July 7-10, Harbor of Hope collaborated to host Operation Safe Space: Impact Weekend. [Photos by Rayno Victor]

July 13, 2023

Church Leaders Step Up to Help Combat Summer Violence

It started last summer with the “Stop the Violence Tour” when members of the Harbor of Hope Church in Benton Harbor Michigan visited eight housing complexes to promote peace and stop the gun violence.

Which led to a charge given by Harbor of Hope Church Pastor Taurus Montgomery this spring at a City Hall meeting, in which he called all churches to join in the fight against the powers of darkness. This led to an unexpected turn. Four pastors, plus the Benton Harbor chief of police, jumped in with offers to help.

From July 7-10, 2023, Harbor of Hope collaborated to host Operation Safe Space: Impact Weekend. Harbor of Hope, Bethel Christian Restoration Center, Greater Grace Temple and New Birth Apostolic Church joined for one purpose, to spread peace and stop the violence. [Bethel adoped River Terrace, Greater Grace adopted Briarwood, New Birth took on Thurgood Marshall, while Purpose embraced Harbor Bluff.]

One  highlight was a bible skit based on Cain & Able, illustrating that with God’s power, we are able to control our anger and not do what Cain did to his brother.

After the skit, a message was preached by the church’s pastor of that particular community, and at the end of the program, there were questions about the message, prizes such as bikes and cash were given out to those correctly answered the questions.  

The children and adults were able to leave with practical tools to help manage their emotions and make better choices in their responses to bad situations. They learned a deep breathing technique, and every child and adult was gifted an emoji stress ball at the end of the program. 

The fire department also joined as a community partner and brought their truck for all the kids to play and experience.  

Harbor of Hope Church is about to launch the HOPE series at one of Harbor of Hope adopted communities, Berrien Homes, where evangelist meetings with a message  will be held each week night. 3ABN is sponsoring goodie bags and will also be present. The following week, Harbor of Hope will simultaneously run two additional evangelism meetings in other two adopted communities. 

The final phase, still under development, is the building of a state-of-the-art community center at Harbor of Hope for kids to have a safe space to flourish, while still pouring into the adopted housing complexes and maintaining peace in the community of Benton Harbor. 

More photos on the Harbor of Hope Facebook page

Jharony Gibbs is youth director and head of outreach at Harbor of Hope Church.