LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
"If our community is going to be rid of violence, before it can become a collective change, it must first become an individual change."
That's the message local pastors want to share with the community. In light of recent city-wide violence, including three homicides in one weekend, the Baptist Ministers Union of Lake Charles organized a prayer vigil on Sunday night.
Pastor Timothy Ceasar is the president of the Baptist Ministers Union and said the time for change is now.
"It's time that we step up and attempt to make a change in the violence," said Ceasar. "Statistics are too high for such a wonderful city and area as this is."
Holding a vigil is one thing, but putting action into the fight is another. Jeffery Poullard's action involved a T-shirt campaign to stress the message of stopping violence.
"It's another way for us to get the message out instead of always having to verbally say it," said Poullard. "We can, I guess, get it out by what we wear and so that was one of the things that motivated me to make the shirt."
For Pastor Braylon Harris of Mount Olive Baptist Church and Paul Pettefer of "The City Should Be Different," their action takes the form of a grassroots ministry.
"We've got to do it one person at a time, one family at a time, one church at a time one act at a time," said Harris. "It kind of goes back to the movie, 'Pay it Forward.' If you've experienced the love of Jesus Christ, you ought to pay it forward, you ought to show someone."
They plan to pay it forward, by promoting the need for a cultural transformation.
"One church getting outside of it's walls. One family at a time being restored from broken-ness to wholeness that raises children that know how to live. That cultural transformation will change our city," said Pettefer.
"That's where we go from here. Everyone that's watching, everyone that sees this, get up! Go love somebody," said Harris.