Rockford religious leaders break racial boundaries with new part - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford religious leaders break racial boundaries with new partnership

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Pastor Gary Schwerin Pastor Gary Schwerin
Pastor Herbert Johnson Pastor Herbert Johnson
Police chief & mayor Police chief & mayor

Rockford's religious leaders come together; they want to help take control of the city's crime. These new ideas and new relationships are inspired by civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Clergy members of Rockford's three ministry groups; Rockford Ministers' Fellowship, Greater Rockford Clergy Association and Evangelical Ministers' Fellowship are the product of what Dr. King strived to achieve.

"This is his dream come true." -says Second Christian Church Pastor David Ballard.

The three ministries differ in race, Rockford Ministers' Fellowship being more minority-based than the other two, but the groups have created a stronger relationship sitting down and talking about ways to improve the city at Wednesday's Clergy Luncheon.

"This was a historical day in the life of our city as well as the city's faith community." -says Rockford Ministers' Fellowship President Pastor Herbert Johnson.

Rockford's police chief and mayor dropped in to talk about the city's crime; where it's at, what future solutions are in store to lessen it. Clergy members came up with some of their own ideas, starting with knowing what faith groups offer which services.

"We can expand and also inform people of the different resources at many of our church circles." -says Johnson.

Plus, church leaders should start figuring out who can help in their neighborhoods.

"Make sure we know who the officers are, who are assigned to our different communities and build relationships." -Johnson adds.

With hundreds of churches in Rockford, it might be hard to develop a bond with everyone. Evangelical Ministers' Fellowship President Pastor Gary Schwerin says start small.

"If churches could get together just with the ones that are around them and say 'How do we own our neighborhood, how do we make a difference in the schools that we surround?' maybe we can make a difference there." -says Schwerin.

Religious leaders' contact information has been gathered by the Rockford Ministers' Fellowship. Johnson will start working on these solutions next week. Mayor Larry Morrissey suggests these meetings happen every other month.

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