Boston Rev. Ray Hammond, who lead a successful church-based effort in the early 1990s to reduce Boston’s crime and murder rate, told a gathering of leaders from Nashville churches and law enforcement and others at Belmont University Thursday how they did it.
Hammond, of Boston’s Bethel AME Church, founder of the Ten Point Coalition, described a program that mobilized church-based volunteers and community organizations working with law enforcement and civil services to confront the rising crime rate, identify violent youths and youths at-risk of becoming the next wave of criminals, in order to help re-direct their paths. The Ten Point Coalition’s success has attracted more than 400 other jurisdictions to study its approach and methods.
While all of the various organizations – social services, law enforcement, the school system and government – must work together, Rev. Hammond stressed that the first people who must “step up” are Christians. Invoking the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Hammond said, “The first people who have to step up are the churches, the people who say they follow Jesus Christ. How are we any different than the priest and the Levite if we continue to walk past the situation?”
Also speaking at the conference at Belmont – Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas, Tennessean columnist Dwight Lewis, and community and church leaders from across the city.
Pictured: Rev. Hammond, speaking; Todd Lake, Belmont University Vice President for Spiritual Development, standing at left; Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas, seated.