Savannah pastors gather as a ‘collective army’ to combat gun violence


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – After the death of a young Savannah boy, pastors and faith leaders throughout the city gathered on Thursday to mourn and to comfort.

They congregated in the parking lot of the Bonaventure Funeral Home which is the same location where John Cooksey was shot on Sunday and later died on Monday night.

“We are not ashamed to say our city is crying,” Pastor Da’Henri Thurmond said.

Together the group makes up part of the Savannah Alliance of Pastors, a group of more than 30 people dedicated to improving the safety and quality of life in the city. The team consists of men and women of different races and Christian denominations. The pastors prayed and address their concerns for the wellness of the city.

“Though 12-year-old John Cooksey died on Monday,” Thurmond said. “We are more resolute than ever that his death will not simply be a name on a sheet or a sad statistic that provides information but that his memory will be a living motivator to push us collectively to work to find solutions.”

The group also paid tribute to other lives lost due to gun deaths in 2018.

About a dozen showed up to address the local media on Thursday afternoon, which Pastor Thurmond says is a sufficient number.

“Jesus did have 12 and those 12 did change the world,” he said. Credit was also given to other pastors not present for their work in the community and with local government. “We’re coming together as a collective army to change the entire atmosphere in our community,” Thurmond said.

To those who might consider violence as a new normal in Savannah, Pastor Chester Ellis replies, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” he said. “They must join in with us to help us with the solutions.”

The SAP says it has a forward plan of action but is in its final stages of preparation before it can be released to the public.




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