‘We will help you:’ Church leaders host ‘Praise Fest’ in Washington Park, 1 week after quadruple shooting

Theresa Jones

MILWAUKEE -- Church leaders and members are trying to break the cycle of violence that has impacted the church's neighborhood.

On Sunday, Aug. 12, outside of their church walls and into the Washington Park Bandshell, the congregation at Parklawn Assembly of God brought ministry to the people during Praise Fest.

"Worship God, and to share love with the community," said Theresa Jones, Parklawn Assembly of God chief ministry operations officer.

Song and prayer echoed in the area a week after shots rang out in and near the park -- on Saturday, Aug. 4, leaving four people hurt.

Washington Park shooting

Shooting at Washington Park

Jay English

"I think we are missing a lot of mentors," said Jay English, pastor of Youth and Community Outreach.

English used Sunday's event as an opportunity to create change.

"I'm hoping for them to see they have options. You can make different decisions. You can do different things in your life," said English.

Through guidance games, guests were drawn to the message of loving yourself and one another.

Bishop Walter Harvey

"We are calling people back to the dignity that God places within each of us -- to respect that image. We are calling people to personal responsibility and to be stewards of our community," said Bishop Walter Harvey, senior pastor at Parklawn Assembly of God.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett applauded the efforts of the faith community to build these relationships.

"It's about letting people know how intertwined community is with faith, and it's important to have that faith component to make this a safer city, a better city, more prosperous city," said Mayor Barrett.

"It's going to be, 'I'm going to talk to you and love you regardless of what you do,' and I'm still going to be here even if you mess up. We will help you fix that as well," said English.

Teen Challenge Wisconsin

Teen Challenge Wisconsin was also on hand, offering testimonies and services to help those dealing with addiction.