Churches in neighborhood suffering from gun violence hope - KCTV5

Churches in KC neighborhood suffering from gun violence hope to bring peace

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Many lives are touched by gun violence, whether the person is a victim or not, and two churches in one neighborhood in the Kansas City metro suffering from such violence are saying "no more".

The two churches in the Troost Corridor are standing up for non-violence in the neighborhood. The churches are using Good Friday as an opportunity to bring new hope and resolve to the Troost Corridor and plan to line the street with light and love.

St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church is taking its message to the street.

"We want to say that this is a place of peace - that this is a really strong community," Pastor Donna Simon said.

Church members will hold a candlelight vigil, lighting more than 100 candles and luminaries.

"We believe that one light in the darkness can eradicate a world of violence and evil," Simon said.

And violence plagues the Troost Corridor. St. Mark's church is situated right in the middle of it at Manheim Road and Troost Avenue.

St. James Catholic Church, located just down the street, is joining hands with the Lutheran church.

"Our own people have been a target of violence and we really need to address the whole issue," Deacan Ross Beaudoin said.

The two congregations first held a peace vigil like this in 2011 on Good Friday following a shooting. Three men were shot and two ran into the KCATA Metro Center and were attended to by daycare workers.

"It was a pretty traumatic event that happened right in between our two churches," Simon said.

This year's vigil celebrates hope that neighbors along the Troost Corridor feel for their home. Holding a peace vigil after Good Friday makes perfect sense to Simon.

"For me it's the perfect time to do this because there's this sacred space for Christians between Good Friday and Easter where we just confronted death and we're looking toward life, toward resurrection," she said.

"What we do here is small, but it's our step and hopefully others will see," Beaudoin said.

And all involved are hoping to spread the light throughout the community.

The Candle Light Peace Vigil will be 39th Street and Troost Avenue at 8:15 p.m. Friday right after service. The entire community is invited and encouraged to bring their own candles for support.

They've planned for more than 100 people, but they hope the vigil stretches far down Troost Avenue.

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