Chicago church takes a stand against neighborhood violence

Meredith Flynn —  October 16, 2012

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Pastor Larry Trotter has done four funerals in recent months for victims of gun violence. In his neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the streets can be very dangerous, especially after this summer, which saw a dramatic increase in the city’s homicide rate.

That’s why Trotter and his congregation from Sweet Holy Spirit Church took to the streets September 30, marching through their neighborhood chanting, “Stop the violence,” and “Save our children.” Almost 200 people participated in the anti-violence rally and march.

“I know that this won’t stop everything, but I want people to grab the passion,” Trotter said, according to Associated Press reports. “If we all join together, we can make an impact.”

According to Chicago police, almost 400 people have been killed this year, and the homicide rate is up 31 percent over last year. Since the extremely violent 1990s, crime has decreased in Chicago, but the recent rise in violence shows there’s much room for improvement.

“The city has gone wild. It’s no longer just gang killing, it’s random killing,” Trotter said. “We have to try and channel that energy and put it in another direction.”

Or march it in another direction. And hopefully it will benefit the generation currently growing up in an environment that can be very frightening. Brandy Lewis was one of the participants in Sweet Holy Spirit’s march. As a mother and someone who works with youth everyday, Lewis told the Chicago Tribune the community has a responsibility to its youngest members to end the violence.

“We’re out here trying to bring attention to our neighborhood that we have to do something to keep our kids alive.”

And prayer plays a key role, Trotter said according to the Tribune. “The message is ‘Stop the violence,’ but the spiritual message is that we’re praying for the … violence to cease.”

-With information from Associated Press, Christian Post, and Chicago Tribune

Other news from Baptist Press:

Allen elected president of Midwestern Seminary
In a 29-2 vote, Jason K. Allen was elected by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees as the school’s fifth president. The vote took place October 15 during the trustees’ bi-annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo. Allen, 35, comes to Midwestern from Louisville, Ky., where he served as vice president for institutional advancement at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and as executive director of the Southern Seminary Foundation. He had concurrently served as senior pastor of Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville. Read more at

A win for pro-life pharmacists
An Illinois appeals court has granted a victory to pro-life pharmacists who object to providing drugs that can cause abortions. Pharmacy owners Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog challenged a 2005 rule mandating pharmacists fill all prescriptions, including those for Plan B and other “morning-after” pills. In September, the Illinois Fourth District Court upheld a lower court injunction that blocked the state from enforcing the rule.

ERLC pres. search goes online
The SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has launched a website to aid in identifying a new president for the agency following the October 2013 retirment of Richard Land. At, potential candidates can view a list of attributes ERLC trustees are seeking, and a prayer guide for the committee’s work. The site also is the only way by which interest in the ERLC presidency can be communicated to the trustee search committee, who will accept curriculum vitae from prospective candidates through Oct. 31. Read more.

Missionary kid shares childhood through children’s book
Valerie Elliot Shephard, the only child of missionaries Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, has written a children’s book about her early life in the Ecuadorian jungle where her mother told a tribe about Jesus after they had killed her father. Shephard was only 10 months old when her father was killed; she and her mother remained in the jungle several years until many in the tribe accepted Christ and abandoned their savage ways. The October release of “Pilipinto’s Happiness: The Jungle Childhood of Valerie Elliot” coincides with the 85th anniversary of Jim Elliot’s birth. Pilipinto, meaning “butterfly,” was the Indians’ nickname for the girl.

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.