Beaumont Church in the running to become a presence against violence

Jeremy Williams said the rise in crime has hit close to home. He lost a close friend to gun violence and a cousin to a drug overdose.

BEAUMONT, Texas – A Beaumont pastor, members of his church, and the Southeast Texas community are taking action and intervening to become a physical presence against violence and crime.

Pastor Jeremy Williams of Fresh Fire Ministries is organizing a series of prayer walks in areas of Southeast Texas. Members target high crime areas.

On Saturday they held a prayer walk to the Timber Edge Apartments on Pitchback Road. The march was the first of its kind, and Williams said the church plans to hold several more throughout the summer.

“And the reason we do [this]the actual theme is called Peace in the Streets, the last few months there’s been a lot of violence here in Beaumont, all over Southeast Texas,” Williams said.

Violence struck near Williams’ home.

“Two weeks ago my brother, he’s like a brother to me, we grew up together there in north Beaumont, he was shot in the head on the corner of Earl Street and Cleveland and that touched me,” Williams said. . “Four months ago we buried our cousin who overdosed on fentanyl.”

Williams thinks Beaumont is a great place to live, but thinks the violence leaves a lasting effect on the community and causes members to live in fear.

“Not only am I a pastor in this community, but I also live here and work here, and so, it’s not cool with me when I see our young children being afraid to go out and play,” Williams said. “When I see our old people being afraid to go to the grocery store and then when I see young people with so much potential looking at so many dark things.”

William felt it was time to act outside the church walls. Williams strongly believes it’s time for community members to occupy Beaumont and make a difference.

“I’m tired of business as usual,” Williams said. “I said, ‘Hey, listen, let’s get our congregation back. Let’s go with the concerned citizens of the community and be present here. Let’s ask people what they need. What are you afraid of? How can we help?'”

The church holds prayer walks, summer gatherings, and feeds and counsels people with the goal of uplifting the people, the community. Those involved take three approaches.

“Number one, we pray,” William said. “Of course, we approach first from a spiritual point of view. Second, we try to see what kind of services they need. What is their employment status with us? What is their school status? »

Members of the initiative also focus on the financial situation of community members.

“Are they living in underserved communities because they don’t know how to get out,” Williams said.

The third step becomes a physical presence that deters crime in the community.

“It’s kind of tough dealing drugs while we’re here,” Williams said. “We’re not going to let you sell it to those kids. We’re not going to let you be a tyrant in our communities if we’re here, so we have to be there.

Using these three approaches, Williams hopes to make a difference in the community and invites other area churches and community members to join him in making Southeast Texas safer for all.

“So those are the three things we do,” Williams said. “The spiritual approach, the social approach and just to safeguard our communities the physical approach.”

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