An opinion survey due to be launched next week indicates that a vast majority of churchgoers think the church should play a grassroots role in tackling gun and knife crime, following recent initiatives from Black churches.
Mentoring, parenting support, building closer relationships with the community groups and the police, prayer support and local crime and disorder partnerships are among the responses identified in the Church Consultation on Violent Crime.
The research, carried out by Premier Christian Media in association with the Metropolitan Black Police Association and a network of local church initiatives, is due to be launched in London's Methodist Central Hall, opposite the Houses of Parliament, on Monday 22 October 2007.
Some 3,240 church members and leaders from across the UK took part, say organisers. Eighty-nine percent of these felt gun and violent crime was an issue the church should be addressing as a major concern.
Mr Peter Kerridge, chief executive of Premier Christian Radio, commented: “This report illustrates the Church has so much to offer in strengthening family life and creating a peaceful society – there are real challenges that emerge – as Christians we can not idly stand by while violence in our streets goes unchecked.”
Meanwhile, Bevan Powell, who is deputy chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, said: “This is a significant report that highlights the willingness of the Church to get involved in finding solutions to violent crime. Reducing violent crime is not just the responsibility for the police, but society in general and the church has an important role to play.”