For practically every night since June this year, volunteers of Corners to Connections roamed the streets of Northern Philadelphia to talk with people looking for employment or someone to pray for and with them.
A report published by Whyy.org revealed that the faith-based group from Taylor Memorial Baptist Church is doing the nightly walks as part of the coalition's violence interruption thrust.
The church's pastor, Rev. G. Lamar Stewart, headed the initiative and personally led volunteers as they donned casual clothing to make themselves look more approachable to people.
The Group's Mission
The article revealed that Stewart's group is banking on faith to help curb gun violence, which is on a sharp rise in Philadelphia.
The Germantown native explained that the method by which they seek to interrupt violence in the city is different from all the other violence interrupter designs done in the city.
Stewart said they hope to use faith and kindness as they talk to people in the streets about mental health problems and employment.
By discussing these things with people, Stewart hopes they could persuade them to steer clear of gun violence should the circumstances present them with the opportunity to do so.
Time for the Church to Be At Its Best
According to the pastor, the church has the chance to "be at its best" when society faces difficult problems and the world is at its lowest point.
"And we're in a moment right now where people have lost faith in a lot of systems," Whyy.org quoted him saying.
Stewart added that people belonging to the church community must leave the confines of their churches and make people feel that there is someone who would listen to them.
It is why Pastor Stewart and his team of volunteers at Corners to Connection spend two hours each night walking the streets of Northern Philadelphia to talk with people personally.
Since they began their night walks, Stewart and his group had spoken to more than 4,000 people, the article said.
Philadelphia's Gun Violence by the Numbers
Based on the interactive map by the Office of the City Controller, the city has 337 homicide cases to date. The figure is a 4% rise from last year's number.
Meanwhile, the map revealed that there had been 303 shooting incidents resulting in victims' deaths and 1,147 non-fatal gun-related cases in the city as of Aug. 9.
Users of the interactive map may use filters to see cases by gender, age, death, race/ethnicity, and time of the incident.
About Corners to Connections
A related article by Whyy.org revealed that Corners to Connections offer various resources to people in Tioga, Nicetown, Northwest, and North Philadelphia.
The article said that the group provides faith, employment, and trauma care resources as they approach people intending to steer them away from potential gun violence.
The article noted that by addressing the root causes of gun violence, Stewart said he hopes to break the cycle of gun violence plaguing the city.