- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Clergy in St. Louis are calling for citywide prayer to end violence.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1kbsYDx ) reports that the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition hosted a Memorial Day service at New Northside Church on Monday to draw attention to violence in the city. The service included 52 candles, each with the name of a person who had died from violence in St. Louis this year.

The service was part of the Week of Prayer to Curb Violence that continues through Friday. At the ceremony Monday, the Rev. Rodrick Burton moved along the front of the sanctuary, picking up a candle and blowing out the flame as his wife spoke the names of violence victims.

“Those lives are gone,” Burton said.

Lisa Jackson lost her husband. Carla Austin nearly lost her son. He was shot 18 times, but survived. Now he’s trying to learn to speak and walk again.



“When your child is laying there, you want someone to speak up,” Austin said, gripping the lectern. “It was so easy for me to be quiet when it hadn’t happened to me.”

Burton said the warmer weather brings even more violence.

“Every year in the summer months in St. Louis, we see a horrible trend,” he said. “That trend is violence. Starting right now, we’re asking the city to be united in prayer. Pray that we have peace.”

Javier Orozco, director of Hispanic ministries for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, said many young people in urban settings “are the direct victims of violence. Our churches, our faith community can be those places where young people can come to forgive.”

The Week of Prayer to Curb Violence will continue with events all week.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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