The concerns of urban communities that dominate headlines created an opportunity for Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary alumni to offer faith-based solutions through the organization, Clergy for Safe Cities (CSC).
Gun violence is a blight on our nation, whether the end result of a conflict is criminal activity by offenders or excessive force by authorities. Recently, three Nyack graduates were among the leaders who gathered for the virtual 2021 National Clergy Gun Violence Prevention Summit.
Clergy for Safe Cities is the offspring of the 67th Clergy Council, Inc. (“The God Squad) of Brooklyn, NY. While the organization has existed for a decade, the group became national just six months ago. Pastor Gil Monrose, a 2004 graduate of Nyack College is the president and organizer of the group. He states, “Now more than ever, our country needs faith leaders to play an active and leading role in combating the gun violence epidemic that is plaguing all major cities across the United States and its territories. Clergy for Safe Cities is a coalition established to support clergy-based gun violence prevention initiatives and to implement a collective, comprehensive, community initiative to decrease the involvement of young people in gangs, crimes, and gun violence.”
Other members are ATS Associate Dean Dr. Charles Galbreath (NC ’06; ATS ’09) and Bishop Eric Garnes (ATS ’ 04). The stated mission of the organization is to be “guided by the moral principle that public safety is a shared responsibility with the belief that the active participation and the involvement of clergy will be pivotal in helping to address this scourge.” The group has tasked itself with “lessening neighborhood tensions and burdens on government, combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency, and acting as a liaison among police officers, community members, and congregations.”
“Our Prophetic Voice in Response to Social Injustice and the Call for Safe Cities,” was the theme of the plenary remarks shared by Dr. Galbreath, pastor of Clarendon Road Church in Brooklyn, NY. “We need to be in the streets,” he exhorted his audience. “The church’s voice has been muted prophetically because we have been victims of malpractice theologically. We have bought into the false dichotomy that there has to be a bifurcation between the prophetic and the priestly work of the church. Revival was never designed to be codified in the comforts of a sanctuary. A real revival spills from the sanctuary to the streets.”
Some of the strategies Clergy for Safe Cities include plans to create chapters in cities headed by local leaders and providing chapters with training to offer best practices to reduce gun violence. Nyack’s institutional core value of being socially relevant is evident in this initiative of action speaking louder than words.
The work of these dedicated ministers of the gospel will bring much-needed light into darkness.