Christian historian and columnist for the Daily Telegraph, Tim...
As knife crime increases 22%, pastor tells churches 'don't just stay on the fringes'
The Office for National Statistics revealed that knife crime went up 22% last year.
Putting a harsh figure on the reality that has been dominating crime stories, the police say they've recorded 39,598 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2017.
Rev Nims Obunge used to advise the Metropolitan Police on reducing knife crime and is now Chief Executive of the Peace Alliance as well as pastor of Freedom's Ark Church in Tottenham in London.
Before any discussion of the causes or political solutions, Rev Nims says church members need to pray and get out on the streets.
He told Premier: "Blood is on our streets…there's a need to call our churches to prayer."
"Don't just stay on the fringes, roll up your sleeps, let's work together"
Speaking of the various causes which lead to later violence he said: "Whatever the issues may be with these disaffected, angry young people - there are some young people that have got revenge and hatred in their hearts."
He said there was a huge gap for the church-going population to show people love: "Some young people have said they just never grew up with love and that's a very strange issue."
"There was a young man I tried to embrace who was going through a very hard time and he said he'd never been hugged in love ever in his life. "
His call to Christians is: "Don't be afraid of them, reach out to them, engage with them, show them that we care for them,
"Show them that they can have hope in life…make them see that you can dream about something, you can grow up to be somebody."
Several Christian groups are already teaming up such as the Evangelical Alliance, Street Pastors, Ascension Trust and London City Mission.
"Come out with us, let's pray on our streets."
He added: "The church is doing a lot of work out there" but "we don't know what's being done as a collective."
"A whole range of us are getting together. We really feel like we can bottle this thing out if we work as one, prayerfully."
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