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Cleveland churches come together to combat gun violence

10:54 PM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- A community of churches here in Cleveland say Sunday's church shooting in Ashtabula is just one more example of gun violence gone too far.

The Federation of Network Ministries is determined to make April different. 

"I'm tired of the crime. I'm tired of the senseless deaths and murders. So I just came out to be a part of this," said Shayla Hall.

Hall is just one member of the Trinty Outreach Ministries Church, determined to stop the bullets before they hurt even more.

"This issue is all around us, in every aspect of society. And we just have to make a difference. And the faith community have the keys," said Pastor Andrew Clark.

Clark is calling for peace as his church held an anti-gun violence awareness rally to kick off a month long effort. They're not trying to change gun control laws per se, just hearts.

"Hearing all the different gun violence issues we've been faced with in our city, it was just really time for the faith based community to step up and make a statement," said Clark.

On the near East side, police found the bodies of two women in the last week. Cleveland's already seen 23 homicides in 2013 to date, up from 14 during the same period last year.

"We as a community don't want this for our children. We don't want this for our neighbors. We don't want this in our neighborhoods," said Cleveland Police Capt. Dennis Hill. "I think that the church has a broad based approach."

To keep illegal guns out of the Glenville neighborhood and others, the Federation of Network Ministries is launching a marquee campaign to get attention.

They'll host movies, workshops and discussions about a different way to handle conflicts. And they're working with city leaders to bring the best practices, to address gun violence and gang violence, to Cleveland.

"Anything that's designed to help reduce gun violence in this community is a good thing," said Capt. Hill.

Hall says the church can reach those others why not?

"The question is why not? What would it hurt?" said Hall. "We should be able to make a difference."

The church groups are holding a public hearing on gun violence prevention later this month. They're inviting anyone who wants to contribute to show up.

Council Kevin Conwell will be facilitating the hearing, scheduled for April 24 at 10 a.m. at Cleveland City Hall. 

Also if you'd like to get involved, or get your church involved in the curriculum, you can call 216-791-3337.


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