Fear has the power to paralyze entire communities where gun violence is a major component of that neighborhood’s narrative. There are very few things that are more powerful than fear, but thankfully the greatest weapon that destroys fear is love.
The Pathfinders and youth of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), under the leadership of Prince Lewis, pastor and youth director, organized a march against gun violence on Sabbath, June 23, 2018, in the community of Palatka, Fla. Lewis worked in collaboration with Mark Brown, D.Min., family life and health ministries director, and Mithra Williams, prayer and women’s ministries director. The group identified a challenge in the community, and decided to be a part of the solution by bringing awareness to the need for safety for the children.
Young people marched while playing drums, chanting, and singing while protesting the high volume of violent crimes society faces every year. As citizens in the community heard the drums beating and the youth chanting, they came out of their houses and lined the streets. One resident commented on how refreshing it was to see young people doing something positive in the neighborhood. The SEC Youth Department plans and participates in numerous events throughout the year. However, SEC seeks to increase initiatives which impact the residents most. Terrell Hill, mayor of the city of Palatka, was present at the march and expressed overwhelming appreciation to SEC for their presence and commitment to pouring into the community in such a positive way.
Because community impact is a major focus of SEC, on Sunday, June 24, 2018, volunteers and medical professionals provided residents of the Putnam County area with a free clinic at SEC’s campground, where residents could receive free food, free medical, dental, and optical care. The weekend was impactful because youth were able to share the good news of health, hope, wholeness, and love.
Southeastern | September 2018