Pubdate: Mon, 25 Feb 2002
Source: The Post and Courier (SC)
Copyright: 2002 Evening Post Publishing Co.
Author: Dave Munday


City Ministers, Councilmen Meet In Hampton Park

It wasn't just another rally against drugs. That was the message from
preachers and city councilmen at a Sunday afternoon rally in Hampton

About 120 people gathered for prayer inspired by the recent rash
of killings - most of them drug-related - in downtown Charleston. The
meeting brought together members of about 10 downtown churches who
have been directly affected by drugs and violence in their
neighborhoods. They plan to send volunteers into schools and onto
street corners to tackle the problem at its roots.

"We're coming out of the fort," the Rev. George Jenkins of Nehemiah 
Ministries said.
"We're taking the battle to the enemies' camp."

The rally was organized by Councilmen Jimmy Gallant, James Lewis, Robert 
Wendell Gilliard and Kwadjo Campell, along with Jenkins, the Rev.
Joseph Darby of Morris Brown AME Church and the Rev. William Salley of
Jerusalem Baptist Church.

"We are concerned about the spirit of murder that has consumed our city," 
Gallant said in an opening prayer. He took part because he's also a 
preacher and a police chaplain. The
program included the names of 46 people killed in the Charleston area
since January 2000. Most of those killings are believed to be related
to drug activity and include victims of mistaken identity, Lewis said
after the meeting. He characterized the rally as part of a wider
effort to stop drugs and violence.

Besides meeting with the pastors, he said councilmen who live in the 
neighborhoods also have been: Encouraging residents to be more aggressive 
in reporting possible drug
activity; . Meeting with police and city officials to get more police
protection into the neighborhoods; . Meeting with neighborhood leaders
to allow police to confront loiterers without residents complaining
about harassment; . Developing an economic incentive package in
drug-infested neighborhoods to give kids an alternative to crime.

At its root, drug addiction is a spiritual problem that can only be
solved by spiritual means, Salley said. "Drugs is a demonic spirit,"
he said. "The only means we can defeat that is through the word of
God." Darby was the keynote speaker, using the story of Jesus raising
a young man from the dead at a funeral procession to challenge his
listeners. "A lot of our children today are headed for the graveyard,"
he said. "If our children are to be delivered, they need a touch from
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