It was with heavy hearts that a group of Wilmington clergy members came together on Thursday to plead for a halt to the violence that is plaguing some of Wilmington's most troubled neighborhoods. Most of the group represented churches that minister in the city's predominantly black, lower-income neighborhoods. Some of them know both the victims of that violence and those who are responsible for the attacks.
And they know what that violence is doing to their communities. As spiritual leaders they see it as part of their duty to speak out, and to encourage their parishioners and neighbors to do what they can to help police put a stop to the seemingly nightly gunfire. That role is familiar to them, because the church is such a strong institution in many of these neighborhoods.
To many in these neighborhoods, preachers are respected and viewed as community as well as religious leaders. These ministers see neighborhood children as their children, and their work often extends beyond what many white Protestants see as the traditional role of a pastor.
Congregations have different expectations of their clergy. Some religious institutions steer clear of politics, while others have a long tradition of social and political involvement. The latter is the case of many predominantly black churches - after all, they were integral in helping the nation see civil rights not only as a matter of legal equality but also as a righteous higher cause.
Source: Star News Online