- Category: Blog
- Published: Wednesday, 19 April 2017 13:21
At a time when we hear so much bad news, we want to celebrate the good news spurottawa.com shared last week. Since the men of Pine Grove Bible Church have held weekly prayer walks in their community for more than a year, Police Chief Bordeleau notes a “dramatic reduction in crime”!
The men of Pine Grove Bible Church have held weekly prayer walks in their community for more than a year, and the impact of those prayers is now profoundly obvious. Local residents took to the streets on Sunday, April 9, to celebrate what Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau called, “a dramatic reduction in crime”.
Jasmine Crescent is a part of the Beacon Hill neighbourhood known for significant crime. Three young men were murdered on Jasmine Crescent, only blocks from the church, between April 2015 and March 2016.
Pine Grove hosted a prayer vigil at the site of the third murder last year, but it was only part of their ongoing prayer mission for their neighbourhood.
“We really believe that prayer can change the temperature, the climate, and the lives [of those in the area],” says Pine Grove member Wesley Moore. “That’s what our prayer walks are really centred around.”
For some time, the congregation has felt a strong call to Beacon Hill.
“The trend shows that the violent crimes, gang-related offences, drugs, and theft have for the most part decreased.”
“One thing we really felt is where it says in Jeremiah to work for the peace and prosperity of the city you find yourself in and to pray to God for its welfare,” Moore explains. “So to hear that the stats are changing, that crime is down and prosperity is up, that is encouraging.”
And the statistics for the area are very clear.
In the last year, drug-related offences and property crimes both dropped about 15 percent. While the number of assaults increased slightly, instances of actual violence causing bodily harm decreased by 63 percent. There have been no murders on Jasmine Crescent since the prayer vigil.
“The trend shows that the violent crimes, gang-related offences, drugs, and theft have for the most part decreased,” says Ottawa Police spokesman Brad Burleau. “Theft calls have increased in the Beacon Hill South region, however, only six calls to police were made involving theft within the past year. These consisted of minor theft from vehicles, theft under $5,000, and a theft from a locker.”
“Is prayer the only reason?” Moore asks, “No, absolutely not. We’ve been working with the city and community-safety committee to help address this concern.”
The Ottawa Police also did a number of outreach initiatives. They introduced a neighbourhood watch program and worked on crime-prevention initiatives with community groups.
“Underlying it all, our prayer is that Christ’s glory would shine and that people would receive Him.”
“But certainly, from our view,” Moore adds, “everything begins and ends in prayer. Without it we have very little power to effect change for God’s kingdom.”
While the church is encouraged by the positive report, Pine Grove elder Les Woolsey says it doesn’t change their mission or focus. They want to see Christ touching lives and people developing a personal relationship with Him.
“Underlying it all, our prayer is that Christ’s glory would shine and that people would receive Him. I was encouraged to see more churches participating this year [in the April 9 community celebration]. More churches are reaching out and aware this is an area that needs prayer.”
While more churches are jumping on board, Moore says there is always room to grow.
“I would encourage other churches to pray about what local mission looks like to them and how they can partner with what God is doing around them. [Change happens when you] partner with God through prayer and try to walk alongside Him to do it.”
Spur Ottawa Writer