Faith Leaders Fight Violence To Save Lives - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Faith Leaders Fight Violence To Save Lives

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by Marcus Washington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Students at Pearl Cohn High School witnessed the murder of their classmate at a bus stop two weeks ago. Johnathan Johnson's brutal killing spurred a renewed push in the community.

For 16 years Greater Grace Temple Community Church has been in the fight to end violence.

"Consistently in the city of Nashville when gun violence has occurred, it has almost had and immediate affect with Greater Grace, just by being an inner city church," said Greater Grace Temple Community pastor, Breonus Mitchell, Sr.

The murder of 17-year-old Johnathan Johnson, who was shot and killed while waiting for the school bus in North Nashville, is no different from previous murders.

"The Sunday after that happened I addressed it specifically at Greater Grace," said Mitchell.

The Greater Grace pastor said the very hand extended to those suffering from Johnson's death, goes out to Eric Goodner who is still on the loose.

"I'm sure any pastor in this city would love to first of all pray with him, talk to him and get him to turn himself in," he said.

In a push to move the violence out of the communities much of his congregation calls home, Mitchell is joining others with metro schools and even funeral homes, to find a solution.

Faith leaders hope they can find a way to do more than just pray for a solution, they want to help create that solution.

"We're looking to get the faith base community, preachers together, who will make the commitment, hopefully the last week of school to go into the public schools and have these kids sign covenant; hey, I am not going to die this summer. I am not going to be locked up this summer."

Connecting with a younger generation and addressing their needs and fears are the biggest issues Mitchell says they have, but it's a challenge that can't be ignored.

"We're thinking if we can hit it before it gets hot, it will make for a cooler summer," said Mitchell.

Today was the first meeting, so there is not set date or plan for the project.

Police are still looking for Goodner. If you know where he might be, contact Crime stoppers at 74- CRIME.

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