Pastors hope to stop violence on St. Louis streets this summer

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – The power of prayer, a group of St. Louis religious leaders hope it will help stop violence and hunger this summer.

News 11 Anthony Kiekow has the story.

‘We come seeking your grace and your mercy.’

It`s a righteous request, as the 2014 St. Louis summer nears.

‘We recognize the challenges that awaits them for the end of school as it relates to violence.’

Religious leaders from across the city held a press conference at the New Northside Missionary Baptist Church Monday.

‘It`s about the power of prayer.’

From May 27th to June 1st they want people in the city to flood their churches.

Rev. Rodrick Burton/New Northside Missionary Baptist Church: ‘A week of prayer and fasting and we are asking that all St. Louisans all the households of faith we would like to have a church open in every section of the city that`s going to be open and that`s going to be praying.’

And on Memorial Day at 9 pm, they want people to participate in something called ‘See the Light’.

‘Everyone who has been affected or touched by violence would come out their home with a candle or a light stick of a flashlight so that we can all see how violence is impacting our community.’

14 people were murdered in St. Louis last month alone. And as the temperature rises, many fear the number of murders will do the same, that`s why Alderman Chris Carter is backing the effort.

Chris Carter/Alderman: ‘We can create that change needed to one bring back our neighborhood and to also get folks back involved in the things that they should be involved in.’

The leaders also want to insure families are able to feed their children during the summer.

Rev. Traci Blackmon/Christ The King Church: ‘The fridge is not full where they can send their children in to get a piece of fruit and so when school closes for many of our children their access to food closes.’

They are asking churches to open their doors and serve meals throughout the summer.

Trying to get folks back involved in their community trying to get them to have a sense of pride and that`s something we lost years ago but we are fighting to get that back.’

Churches that want to get involved with the effort should email stlclergy@gmail.com and visit summerfood.usda.gov., and families who need help with food can call 211.

‘In the name of Jesus we pray amen.’

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