Pastors unite to bring St. Louis communities together and stop v -

Pastors unite to bring St. Louis communities together and stop violence

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( -- As the homicide in local communities continue to rise, a new effort to fight crime is moving forward.

It calls for pastors from St. Louis and nearby counties to work together to help stop the violence.

"I believe crime is has a lot to do with people having hopelessness in their lives,” said Pastor Robert Griffin of Christian Embassy Church.

"There's a great need within our communities of crime and even poverty situations. We just need help,” said Rev. Vincent Andujo of Jamison Memorial CME Church.

They are just two of approximately 100 pastors from the City of St. Louis and surrounding counties coming together in a community wide effort.

"If the community see the churches are serious about outreach and engaging the communities then I believe that change will come over time,” Andujo said.

The plan is to have pastors commit to one year of outreach work in the areas they serve.

That means for 52 consecutive weeks, each will reach out to a minimum of 30 households.

The move comes as crime rates in the City of St. Louis continue to rise.

There's already been 70 homicides so far this year. That's 18 more deaths than this time last year.

"We need to have the church assert itself right now as a place where people can go,” said James Clark, VP of Better Family Life.

Clark says his organization is working with more than 70 others to also bring resources like mentoring and drug treatment into the mix, but he says the fundamental need is for churches to become leaders in their neighborhoods.

It's an initiative these pastors hope will ultimately lead to change.

"This is not going to happen overnight. It's going to take commitment and it's just going to be from the churches, it's going to be from every one of us,” said Griffin.

There will be another orientation on Saturday, June 6. They plan to launch the program the last weekend of June.

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