Saint Louis

Churches Rally to Restore Community

Several hundred people from a dozen different churches rallied last week in North St. Louis to protest drugs, violence and prostitution.

As reported by the St. Louis Review, God was at the forefront of a march and rally Feb. 25 at Sts. Teresa and Bridget calling for an end to the violence, open-air drug markets and prostitution that have plagued the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood of north St. Louis. “Common Crisis — Common Ground,” was hosted by Better Family Life, in cooperation with about a dozen area churches.

“This is just the beginning,” Phillips said. “It is only through us that change will be facilitated. The church is a building, but we are the Church. And the Church has to come out into the streets.”

Several hundred people marched along North Grand Boulevard, starting at Sts. Teresa and Bridget and ending a few blocks north at Montgomery Street, where a boy was injured in a shooting in February. Carrying signs including “our community matters,” and “shut it down,” marchers listened as area pastors and leaders of Better Family Life made an impassioned plea to put faith first in making changes for the better.

For the past year, Better Family Life – who sponsored the rally, has partnered with Sts. Teresa and Bridget — as well as an earlier collaboration with St. Augustine Parish in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood — to provide basic needs to the community every week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the organization distributes food and toiletries and links to health care services and rehabilitation services.

Outreach coordinator Rashonda Johnson said that through that effort in 2017, the organization engaged with 3,800 people and had 250 requests for resources and 129 requests for assistance in entering rehab.

“We had 18 participants who did complete rehab services and got their lives back on track,” she noted. “I cannot stress how important it is for us to have a collective common ground with the churches and the community in rebuilding our communities.”

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To learn more about how churches in St. Louis are working to address the drug crisis, please visit the St. Louis Review.

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