Gun violence and public safety are two topics of concern for local pastors in Chattanooga.
More than 60 attended a faith leader’s breakfast, local pastors met with the mayor’s office and law enforcement to discuss violence in the community.
Pastors, clergy members and other faith based leaders from across Chattanooga met with city leaders and law enforcement at the Orchard Knob Baptist Church Monday to discuss the state of the city.
Mayor Andy Berke's office hopes to learn about the concerns of congregations and how his office can help solve some of the city's violence. With Chattanooga marking its 23rd homicide of 2016 over the weekend, gun violence and public safety were at the forefront of discussion.
"It’s bigger than a law enforcement problem, bigger than a faith problem, it's bigger than a city problem it's a cooperative problem and everyone in this room is committed to learning more and partnering to engage that problem and address it in a positive way,” Chattanooga Mayor Berke said.
Pastors like Jeffrey Wilson of New United Baptist Church believes bringing together faith leaders can influence many.
"I believe if we're going to solve these problems especially from a sociological stand point, we've got to bring more people together,” Wilson said.
Chattanooga Police Chief, Fred Fletcher said gangs and gun violence are the two most high profile problems the city is facing.
"We’ve seen crime go down in each and every area except gun violence. We need to figure out how to make an impact in that and stop people from committing these crimes which are really bad for our community,” Fletcher said.
Though each leader represented different congregations and has different faiths, they all know that violence in Chattanooga impacts them all.
"When we have gun violence, unnecessary gun violence, young people killing other young people, you're not only affecting the victim but the entire community suffers when one family suffers,” Wilson added.
The Chattanooga Police Department said they hope to bring on more volunteer chaplains into the department and in the community.
Mayor Berke’s office holds “Faith Leader” meetings about four times a year with varying topics each meeting.