By Joi Thomas, Special to the AFRO

For the past few years Baltimore residents have watched the homicide rate rise and things do not seem to be getting better. Elder Rashad Singletary, Executive Pastor of Solid Rock Church of Baltimore (7 E. North Ave.), has decided to take action.  He is hosting “Homicide and the Church: Faith-Based Organizations Building Strategies to take Action Against Violence in High Risk Communities,” on Feb. 2, 10 A.M. – noon at Solid Rock Church.

Singletary is no stranger to the violence in Baltimore. For the past six years, he worked with the southern Park Heights community as a violence prevention coordinator and site director for Safe Streets Baltimore, a city-wide initiative to reduce shootings and homicides. Now he wants to bring that same awareness to the church community.  “I wanted to develop a platform that empowers the faith-based community to engage in the work of violence prevention. As we all know, Baltimore has become one of the nation’s deadliest places on the map; at the same time, Baltimore has a strong and influential faith community,” Singletary said.

“In my mind, this is the greatest opportunity to bridge the gap and for the church to stand and unite together to combat crime in an impactful manner. We have the one true answer and it’s time for the church to get involved in the effort to take back our city.”

Those attending this event can expect to leave with a plethora of information. Singletary is confident this seminar will inspire people to do more in their community. “We want to assist attendees with creating strategic plans of action to engage the high-risk community members,” Singletary said. “This will allow us to discuss events and programs that they can offer to provide resources that high-risk communities need in order to effectively impact individuals. Every church and ministry is not the same, but we want to assist churches in identifying effective resources they can offer.”

Bishop J. L . Carter, Senior Pastor of Solid Rock Church of Baltimore is excited about what Singletary is doing.  “I salute Elder Rashad Singletary for his vision for a better Baltimore,” Carter said. “Gathering and engaging the stakeholders of our community for conversation that will result in a strategy for a beloved community is wonderful and encouraging. We owe this present generation, and generations to come, our best efforts in transforming a desert into an oasis.”

Everyone is invited to attend.  Singletary said his team is looking for, “pastors, faith leaders, and outreach ministry representatives to come out along with community members who can engage in the conversation of the needs of the community. We will have our BCPD family present to add to this discussion.”

Making our communities safer will take a concerted effort.  Schedule time to attend this seminar to get answers and ideas on how your church can better serve the community it’s a part of and help lower the violence we hear about so often.