A panel of faith leaders will come together Thursday night at 6:30 pm to discuss the “Christian response to all violence,” especially violence on the North Side, says organizer David Hart, senior pastor at Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church on Madison’s North Side.
“Obviously in our city, there are resources for the South Side, the West Side, all of the sides of town, but I’m from here on the North Side of town and there has been a spike of violence that I haven’t seen before,” Hart says. But the conversation won’t be limited to what’s happening on the North Side — Hart says all violence is on the table, including the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The panel, which will be moderated by Madison365 Publisher and CEO Henry Sanders, will include:
- St. Paul AME Church Pastor Rev. Joseph Barring – St. Paul AME Church
- St. Peter’s Episcopal Church pastor and former Madison Police Chief Rev. David Couper
- Sherman Ave. United Methodist Church pastors David Hart and Luke Thao
- Madison-area Urban Ministry Executive Director Ms. Linda Ketcham
- Northside Community Activist Loretta Sias
- Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell
“We certainly want community activists, Christians, non Christians, we want everyone to be present,” Hart says. “We want folks in the community to come and have a dialogue with us. We owe, as the church, we owe the community a lot. We owe them a greater response than we certainly have been giving. We’re doing good work, but we certainly owe more, so we want to work with everyone to come up with some solutions and to come up with some ways that the church can help alleviate violence.”
Hart knows one evening isn’t going to solve all the issues — but it’s a start.
“In the 90 minutes to two hours, we can’t do everything, but we certainly want to begin the discussion,” Hart says. “Some of the questions are going to be specifically centered on specific ways that we can help. So what we’d like to leave here with is an action plan for the leaders of faith, For communities of faith, to be responsive, be proactive to this issue of violence. So I expect a discussion, a robust discussion. But I also expect us to leave on the same page, working together, building together, and taking some specific actions.”