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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Year in Review: Faith leaders fast to stop homicides in Indianapolis

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In an effort to curb the rate of homicides that has increased throughout the pandemic, local faith leaders organized a series of fasts meant to bring peace.

Nearly 500 Indianapolis residents were killed since Jan. 1, 2020.

In August, a group of local faith leaders, led by Pastor Clyde Posley of Antioch Baptist Church, met on Monument Circle for a vigil. There, leaders shared prayers and announced seven-day-long fasts. Posley said while policing and grassroots efforts are important, prayer must be at the helm of anti-violence work.

“This is not meant to replace the efforts of the police or the mayor,” Posely said. “… Making Indianapolis a safer place will require God to help us tackle the evil forces in our city.”

Throughout the fasts — which occurred every Thursday for 24 hours — participants were asked to pray for five things:

• The power of God to cast out and release the city from the evil spiritual forces perpetuating gun violence and violent crime in Indianapolis

• Unity among city leaders, faith leaders, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and elected officials in the battle for a safer Indianapolis

• Wisdom to implement the specific violence reduction programs and approaches that are most effective

• A resurgence of public confidence in God and his voice throughout Indianapolis

• Restoration of godly family structure, values, principles and community commitment to youth and next generation development

Charles Ware, founder of Grace Relations at the College of Biblical Studies, said fasts and prayer was a call for unity among Indianapolis residents and pleaded with Hoosiers to “cry out to God” and ask for direction.

“Tell us what you want us to do,” Ware said in a prayer August 5. “… We’re weak, we’re confused. We need a divine intervention.”

Despite the fasts, the homicide rate in Indianapolis broke a record in 2021, with 269 people killed, according to IMPD.

“This cannot be the lived experience of families in our city — anywhere in our city,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said following the shooting death of 12-year-old Day’Shawn Bills in May. “That is why the city, IMPD, elected officials, community anti-violence groups, church groups and individuals are doing all that we can, everything we can think of, to address the spike in deadly violence in Indianapolis.”

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848 or email at BreannaC@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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