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Spiritual intervention can stem violence, says campaigner

Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, says spiritual intervention can help stem antisocial behaviour and save lives (File photograph)

Spiritual intervention can help stem street violence and save lives, the organisers of a forum designed to combat crime said yesterday.

The event will include former prisoners Raymond Symonds and Andre Minors.

Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, said both men illustrated “exactly what happens when one gives their total focus to changing their life and fully trusting God’s way”.

He added: “God is important to a lot of people, and these two are just examples of how God’s influence can change one’s focus.”

Mr Crockwell, said there was “no comparison” between God and other ways of beating violence.

He added: “Seeking spiritual intervention is a way of life. Seeking God’s way is a personal and, many times, intimate journey.”

Mr Crockwell said there was a distinction between God and religion.

He explained: “The word religion alone can be a deterrent for many people. It allows for separation.

“God is love, and that is what we promote.

“If we stopped the separation and looked at unity, then we would see that we have more things in common than things that separate us.”

Mr Crockwell said that kindness, peace and love were universal and not just reserved for members of a specific denomination.

He added: “If we looked at these things as opposed to what separates us, then more of us will be able to get along.”

“Redeemed: From Jail to Jesus” will take place in St David’s on March 24.

The Saturday evening event is the latest in a series aimed at stopping violence and antisocial behaviour in Bermuda.

Kirk Trott, councilman at Glory Temple New Testament Church, said the East End congregation wanted to help people that might be on or heading down a violent path.

Mr Trott added that even those opposed to faith or hesitant about God could be helped by the church.

He said: “We can still counsel them, as far as giving them a sense of hope and a sense of direction.

“It doesn’t have to be with Jesus Christ.”

Both Mr Trott and Mr Crockwell admitted that God would not be the answer for everyone who wanted to escape a violent lifestyle — or avoid it in the first place.

Mr Trott said that the determination whether to follow God’s path was a personal decision.

He added: “At the end of the day, God gives us a choice — whether we want to, or whether we don’t.

“At least we can put that forward to them as a step.”

Mr Trott added: “Some people don’t have to have Jesus in their lives to have a positive outcome. But I believe that presenting Jesus Christ to them can somewhat help to give them a guideline.”

Mr Crockwell said that an end to street violence would need community commitment.

He added: “We need some parents to rethink how they guide their children. We need Government to relook at how they are doing some things.

“We need some schools to rethink how they are treating those who are crying out for help.”

Mr Crockwell said that neighbours, businesses and the media also had a role to play.

He added that the community events held to date to help pull the community together had worked.

Mr Crockwell said: “Since our forums have started, gun violence has dropped.”

Mr Crockwell added that both Pastor Leroy Bean, the island’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator, and Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, had attended previous events and had been invited to the March forum as well.

But Mr Crockwell said it was important not to get caught up in politics.

He explained: “We are not politically affiliated with anyone. If you think religion separates people, take a look at politics.”

Entertainment, food and prize giveaways will also be provided.

“Redeemed: From Jail to Jesus” will be held at Glory Temple New Testament Church on Wescott Road beginning at 6.30pm on March 24.

For more information, contact 337-7786 or 595-8261