Lack Of Neighbor Participation In Prayer Walks Concerns Local Pastors
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
CREATED Aug. 9, 2013
Omaha, NE-- The First Responders Prayer Walk happens 24-48 hours after a violent crime has taken place.
On Wednesday, the group gathered near 26th & Spencer Streets after Kevin McIntyre was shot on Sunday.
On Friday, the group was back after Antone Cooper was shot in the same housing complex, just after midnight on Thursday.
Both prayer walks saw very little neighborhood participation. Some said the low turnout might be part of the problem.
"When human bloodshed was shed right there and right here, twice this week, the Bible says that is violence to the land and all the inhabitants," said Dave Gehrls, prayer walk organizer. "The people, the trees, the animals, the birds, are all violated. These people have been violated. They have suffered violence."
After the violence, comes the prayer.
When these walks are held, local pastors, church members, community groups and neighbors participate, but at 26th and Spencer Streets, that wasn't the case.
"We come here, and we don't see any community participation," said Pastor Bruce Williams of Hope of Glory Church. "That's the frustrating part."
Shameka is a mother of five, who lives near the housing unit.
"I think it's sad that families keep losing their loved ones," she said.
On Friday night, when the weather was perfect, not only did neighbors stay away, very few were even outside.
"Everybody in these apartment complexes, right now, should be outside barbecuing, grilling, having fun and interacting with each other, but they're not," said Shameka. "Instead, everybody is in the house and doesn't want to come outside."
The group that gathered for the prayer walk is determined to figure out why.
"Are people afraid to come out?" asked Gehrls. "Is something else going on? Is it just a quiet Friday night? Who knows, but we want to find that out. We're looking for that answer."
The local pastors involved in the prayer walk said their next step is to build relationships with the people who live in the area and try to build a sense of community.