Community praying for peace


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Faith leaders are using prayer in hopes of bringing an end to gun violence.

“Hopefully we as faith leaders can encourage a young man or a young woman, you have a place to go for some hope. You’ve got a place you can go to talk to somebody. I believe we then become a part of the solution,” said James Fielder, Fellowship of the Way Church.

The Ministerial Alliance, faith organizations, and the Champaign County Community Coalition organized 48 Hours of Peace. It’s a multi-faith effort. It’s one of several events planned to bring unity to neighborhoods.

“We have youth who are traumatized, and so they may act out or go down paths as a result of being impacted by gun violence. We recognize that we want to be present. We want to share what we’re doing. I believe it’s so important because I believe there are literally lives hanging in the balance,” said Mary Catherine Roberson with Champaign County Community Coalition.

“Our presence not just in the church building, but out in the community is so important to show we’re with you and not just waiting for you to come to us,” said Fielder.

By building relationships, they’re hoping to collectively find solutions.

“When I say we grieve with the community, we grieve with the community. It’s much larger than a task I’ve been tasked with as a professional. I think it’s truly life’s work to figure out a way to end this epidemic of gun violence,” said Roberson.

Some of the events planned this weekend include a “Beat the Streets Teen Summit” Saturday. It’s from 10am to 2pm at Douglass Park Pavilion. There’s also an HV Neighborhood Transformation Block Party at Crystal Lake Park. It’s from noon to 5p.

There are prayer services and a family fun event on Sunday.

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