Faith in Action: Stop the violence

- At a time when every week seems to bring a new heartbreaking headline, three Tampa pastors have decided they've had enough.

"What started it for me was that there were several murders over a three week period. Eight people. Dead. Gone. Potential murderers, 25 years to life, they're gone," Pastor Al Broughton of Tampa's Genesis Worship Center.

One month ago, Pastors Tom Jones, Al Broughton, and Randy Randolph started #CommunityUnited, a group aimed at unifying the public, it's leaders, and law enforcement. Little did they know just a few weeks later, the nation would be stunned by violence committed by and on police.

"It saddens me to see the violence on both sides. I think if we sit down at a table and find out what's really going on and make a change, real change will take place," Broughton said.

To begin their mission, they're looking for manpower from local faith-based groups from all different neighborhoods. So far, they're eight pastors strong.

"I think faith can play a role by the simple fact that it promotes love. It promotes harmony. It promotes peace. And these are the things that we are trying to achieve. We're not trying to grow our churches or get members for our churches. We are trying to produce that faith-base from within, that God put inside of all of us," Pastor Tom Jones of Tampa's Heaven Destiny Church said.

Each week, pastors immerse themselves in communities to hear citizens' concerns. In just a month, they've handed out 5,000 fliers, complete with their personal cell phone numbers available at any time.

"We figure if they need someone to talk to, they can't our voicemail on our church phones. We're available 24/7. This is our job. This is our life. So when they call, we want to be able to answer," Broughton said.

They say they've already built a solid partnership with Tampa Police Department, a relationship they hope to pass along to the public.  The group is rallying nearly every weekend to listen in to each neighborhood's worries. They're then taking one collective voice to leaders like police or city council to make a change that counts.

"We need your help. That's the end all of everything. Let's unite this city. I don't think this is about color, I don't think this is about religion or organization. This has to be about people. And people being united," Pastor Randy Randolph of Abundant Life Enrichment Church said.

For more information on the group, visit the #CommunityUnited page on Facebook.

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