LIMA — A group of ministers from Lima churches gathered for the second time at Second Baptist Church for a community healing service for those affected by local gun violence.
“There’s a continued need for it because there’s still so much gun violence going on,” said Rev. Arthur Butler, of Providence Missionary Baptist Church. “Young people’s lives are being taken, and we need to just come together as a community because it takes a community, not just one or two churches, but it takes a community to get out and do the things that need to be done.”
Fixing the problem of gun violence won’t happen quickly.
“It takes a lot of time. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight because violence didn’t start overnight. It took a while for it to establish itself, so it’s going to take a while for us to get things moving in the way that it should be done,” Butler said.
Butler and the other preachers want to start a dialogue in the community about gun violence and bring young people to the table.
“One of the things that we can do is start to talk to the different groups that are out there that are starting to fight against one another, starting to bring up different types of disturbances against one another,” Butler said. “If we can get the leaders of them to just sit down and talk with us, so that we can come to some kind of compromise.”
The minsters believe prayer can be part of the solution.
“It’s important because Jesus’ prayer is that he prayed for us to be unified, that we would be one, that there’s nothing like the body of Christ coming together, reflecting unity and oneness and wholeness and a unified voice,” said Rev. Darnell Williams, with New Life Church International.
Williams added, “We’re going to have some honest dialogue and conversation. We’re going to look at some really practical pragmatic things we can do, kind of boots on the ground, to create a presence and to create impact, and to use our influence in the community to make a difference.”
It’s a community-wide problem that requires community-wide solutions, said pastor Megan Croy with Trinity United Methodist Church.
“I just wanted to be part of a solution,” Croy said. “I think so often we just get caught up in the complaining and blaming and pointing fingers instead of taking a pause and realizing that we’ve been empowered to make a difference and that we can make a difference in this.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.