Thursday, August 6, 2009

C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Reaches Out To Peoria Pastors

The group called CHOICES Youth Outreach founded by Peoria's own Carl Cannon, recently contacted the Pastor's Association to ask us to partnership and take over certain aspects of the Peoria prayer vigils that have previously been coordinated through Mr. Cannon's office.

It is yet and unfortunate situation that there are families suffering as a result of the murder of loved ones. The most recent death of Eric Donelson marks Peoria's 6th homicide of 2009. Peoria has not experienced murder at this pace in the last 2 years. This is yet another reminder of the work that must be done to make the community a safer one for all citizens.

We will be providing our services in support of the family and the community for all future homicides within the community. The pastoral community is an essential part of the psychological and spiritual wellbeing of the community. Our unique ability to be able to provide support as well as bridge gaps is a necessary element to adequately addressing the needs of families in these type of situations.

The loss of a loved one is never welcomed. As pastors we are fit to place the proper perspective on these type of occurances as well as network within the community to possibly help prevent future crimes resulting in murders.

Please join the Peoria Assn. Of Pastors in this effort. The next prayer vigil will be held as a result of the murder of Eric Donelson Friday August 7th, 2009 at 1512 W. Margaret Ave. The event will begin promptly at 6:00 PM and end at 6:30 PM. Community participation in this and future events is appreciated.

The following is the announcement of this event:

On July 31, 2009, Eric Donelson was found dead in his home from multiple gunshot wounds.

Please join us in our effort to say to those who perpetrated this type of crime, “We will not tolerate it, and justice will be served.”

The Peoria Association of Pastors, led by Harvey Burnett in partnership with C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Youth Outreach, Police, City of Peoria staff, and other community groups have organized a CEASEFIRE –like rally. We need you to stand with us at the site of Eric’s death to show respect for the life that was senselessly taken, reaching out to young people who are prisoners of the criminal code of the streets.
Need more information? Call 589.5923

Friday, July 10, 2009

Association Director To Speak

Supt. Harvey Burnett Exec. Director of the Peoria Assn. Of Pastors and Pastor Of The New Bethel Church Of God In Christ, will be speaking Thursday evening July 16th at the Morton Square Park at 6:00 PM.

It was 2 years ago that the Pastor's Assn. sponsored it's historic march and prayer rally from Peoria's City Hall to Morton Square Park. Since then crime stats in the Peoria area have been at all time lows, and community groups have participated in assisting citizens at every level within the community. Recently peace and safety has been threatened by a resurgence in the murder rate and enhanced crime statistics. Much of this has been blamed on the current economic crisis. In addition, the Mayor has recently promoted "Concealed Carry" as a proper response to crime with no or little regard to statistical information outside of the gun lobby. Pastor Burnett plans to address this issue, speak a gospel message and much more during this event.

The event is sponsered by the Resurrection Power Church Of God In Christ (Pastor Odell Dye) located at 2500 N.E. Madison, and is part of their evangelist outreach ministries. Everyone is invited to participate and attend.

Financial Stress ~ The F.I.T. Project Is For You


Then THE F.I.T. PROJECT is for you!!
(Families and Individuals in Transition)

When: Friday, July 24, 2009

Where: Illinois Central College (ICC) North Campus (Birch Hall) 5407 N. University Peoria, IL

Registrations Begins 9:30 a.m.

Workshops 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Topics To Be Discussed: Avoiding Foreclosure, Money Management, Job Market Research, Tax Law Changes on Unemployment Compensation and Debt Forgiveness, Career Counseling and other related topics

Information Booths 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Participating Organizations FICRAC, IRS and other Federal, State and Local Representatives

If you have questions or need additional information please call (312) 566-3339.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Community Service~YES! Concealed Carry-NO!

In recent times Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis has openly spoken that he believed "concealed carry" would be a desirable and viable option to help make the Peoria community a better and safer one. he has further stated that he would like to see the Peoria community become a "test area" for the concealed carry concept as legislators in Springfield review and debate the issue.

Although we acknowledge the difficulties with crime due to the seeming moral decline that our nation in general has experienced, we also believe that the only way to fix and appropriately address the problem, as has been proven in Peoria, is through ego effacing governmental collaboration with the community and consistent support to groups who are engaged in effective community service.

This Issue Is Not To Be Confused With The Constitutional Right To Bear Arms

Concealed carry should not be confused with the rights of citizens to bear arms, however, we do not believe under any interpretation of the Constitution that there is a citizens right to vigilantism or the execution of justice outside of the rule of law. Placing weapons in the hands of the citizens with the express purpose of deterring crime is nothing short of posturing (which may get someone killed) and encouragement of the citizens to use subjective interpretations of events or threats in public which may result in even greater tragedies and loss of life.

Using One Statistic For Example:

The Murder Rate for example: According to Peoria Police Department Statistics, the murder rate in 2006 was 17. The murder rate in 2007 was 16. In June of 2007 the Peoria Association Of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal sponsored a community rally and prayer event, asking God for intervention and calling individuals and organizations to higher levels of community service. Shortly thereafter we also sponsored the first gun exchange event addressing the issue of crime and illegal gun use. Before the June event and rally, there were 12 murders in Peoria. From that time until June of 2009 there have only been 15 total murders in the city. In other words, the murder rate over the last 2 years since June 2007 has been LESS than the murder rate that was experienced in both 2006 and 2007.

What Do These Simple Facts Say?
During this same period of time that the murder rate was decreasing and crime was low, there was a notable amount of community service that was taking place not only through our organization but through other grass roots organizations in the city. There was community engagement from the Police and City to organizations that wanted change and were willing to stand for change. The numbers reflect, except for certain statistics in 2009, that community engagement worked and deterred crime in greater percentages than "concealed carry" does anywhere that "concealed carry" is currently allowed.

Forms Of Community Engagement

Over the last 2 year period, community engagement has taken place in the form of prayer, assistance within the Peoria Public Schools, the development of ELITE under Mr. Carl Cannon and other events that placed people in front of other people asking them to become involved in the concerns of others and holding everyone to higher standards of accountability. Results have been achieved without asking any individuals to carry guns, or weapons of any kind, and without asking individuals to take the posture outside of the rule of law in the mode of self-defense. Because we know there is a more effective way to address the issues that Peoria must address we view concealed carry as simply an unnecessary and sensational "wild-west" citizen's policing initiative that will only make things worse for all citizens and especially for the least among us.
And What Of Our Top Cops?

What is especially surprising is that the top law enforcement officials in Peoria and Peoria County, Peoria Police Chief Settingsgaard and Peoria County Sheriff McCoy, are also in favor of concealed carry under the guise that criminals knowing that others have guns will be deterred from committing crime. I would address this issue by saying that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that a criminal very seldom acts rationally and knowing that they they will be caught is usually a risk that the serious offender is willing to take in effort to get what he/she wants.

In fact, it is reported by the Peoria Police Department Statistics that the repeat offender commits crime at greater rates than the new offender (someone who commits crime for the first time or who hasn't previously been caught) Example: In 2008, there were 1,985 new offenders entering the system, while there were 7,408 repeat offenders that got caught AGAIN for committing a crime. Knowing these statistics, that criminals who've been caught are NOT afraid to be caught again, we are at serious odds with Police leaders who suggest that the only way to deal with community crime is to "quasi-deputize" its citizens and symbolically pour gasoline on top of an already burning fire. In addition to this, the fine officers that worked with our association during the Peoria Gun Exchange, expressed the difficulty of engaging the community when concealed weapons are involved.
Why does our City Government and Police force not recognize and support the goal of reducing crime by dealing more effectively with known criminals and by assisting and promoting decreased recidivism rates? Why, are the citizens asked to respond to predictable problems that the City is not effectively addressing? The suggestions from our law enforcement officials promotes is antiquated and creates an environment of contention that Peoria does not need to see in the 21st Century.
What Has Been Said
It has been said that Peoria has a Cease Fire "look-alike" program, but where is it at and what has it done? The cease Fire program was designed originally to deal with youth crime and violence and work in conjunction with the city and community groups in addressing and solving issues of crime. We know that a program was ceded to the Community Action Agency, but where is it now, and what is it doing? The City has seemingly casually waived its hand at the distress of the citizens posturing but delivering no results.
The true results by numbers have come from organizations and individuals that have labored to address issues of crime, liquor and drug proliferation, which is a background for many of the problems we experience, and facilitators to the decline of social and moral values that we all witness within the community. Thank God For the ELITE youth. Heritage Days was assisted and made a peaceful event AGAIN not by guns or "concealed carry "but by community workers and people willing to engage the problems head on.
We find no justification for concealed carry in the least bit in Peoria. We do find however that there is much room for the City, and law enforcement, to engage with the citizenry of Peoria in establishing lasting bonds of community involvement and open dialogue and ACTIONS pursuant to requests. We also clearly see the need for organizations and people to be actively involved in bringing and supporting change. Involvement and concern has been proven to be the best thing that the community can do to deal with crime in the area. Concealed carry is an inhibitor to peace for ALL individuals within the community.
I guess in the Mayor has his way, the new saying in attracting events and businesses to the community will be "Peoria City Beautiful, BYOG (Bring Your Own Gun !). God forbid!
Pastor Harvey Burnett ~ Exec. Director

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Are Homosexuals A Protected Class In Peoria?

"You can't give notice to the effect that certain protected groups are not welcome."

According to the Chicago Tribune in an article "Peoria Gays React To Unwelcome Sign" City Council Woman Barbra VanAuken (Left) singlehandedly and unashamedly conferred "protected class status" on gays living in Peoria. This particular class status has normally been reserved for individuals who have struggled or struggle to gain civil rights based on color or ethnic heritage. The disabled, and those discriminated against in housing and employment have also been afforded "civil right" status and in some cases have been made a "protected class". What's more it seems that not only has Mrs. VanAuken expanded the definition of "protected class" to include gays, but also to include public displays of gay affection as acts being "protected" under the law.
It all started when the Elbow Room Bar located downtown Peoria, owned by Mr. Greg Quast placed this sign in the window of his establishment because he had noticed an increase in gay couples, many involved in open displays of affection either in or around his facility. As should be his legal right, he let the public know his establishment's position on certain activities and gave individuals an option to go to another location to fulfill their public passionate displays.

This led a newly formed gay activist group, One World One Equality, to stage 3 protests in an effort to draw attention to their cause and shame the owner of the bar as a "homophobic".

Obviously the tactic worked on Barbra Van Auken, as she levied "protected class" citizenship status on Peoria gays and also unwittingly endorsed public displays of "gay affection".

Although played down by Peoria media as an inconsequential event, this sparked the following email to Mayor Ardis, and Councilmen Gulley, Turner and Van Auken, from Gay Christian Movement Watch's Rev. D.L. Foster who will appear in Peoria on May 7th 2009:
  • As an African American minister, I must admit I was stunned to read where Council member Barbara Van Auken stated in an article out today in the Chicago Tribune that homosexuals are a protected group. This is in response to a bar owner's clarification of the nature of his bar. Additionally, the article noted that the Peoria city council said state law prohibited such actions. Specifically, what state law says that the owner of a business cannot prohibit certain individuals from coming into his or her establishment and exhibiting behavior unwelcome or not an indigenous aspect of such an establishment? Could this same law be used against churches who prohibit homosexuals from showing open "affection" in the on church property?As an elected official, did Van Auken really mean to say that homosexuals are a "protect group" as if they are some sort of endangered species? Please tell me if are there any groups of people, in your opinion, which would not be a protected group? I don't understand, what's the criteria for assigned "protected" status to one group and denying it to another? I hope that you will take some time and clarify these remarks.
We stand with the inquiry and sentiments of Pastor Foster. Unless Peoria has enacted a special law under their home rule authority, this was and is the wrong move and certainly the wrong message for Mrs. Van Auken to make. To our current knowledge, Peoria gays are not "protected class" citizens and acts of overt public displays of sexual passion, whether homosexual of heterosexual, are restricted. Further, homosexual rights of sexual freedom are NOT civil rights, neither are they equated to to the struggle for racial or moral equality.
This is all very interesting for an additional reason. In 2007 the Downtown Peoria bars were unaccepting of Black citizens supposedly because of their dress and demeanor which was considered to be "intimidating". Instead of making downtown bars comply in the acceptance of Black patrons, the City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Ardis, undertook the notion of liquor expansion to have alternate places for "Blacks to go". This was done against the sincere pleading of the Pastor's Association, The Citizens For Community Values, The Peoria South Side Mission and many neighborhood associations and other grass roots organizations. In other words, the rights of Blacks are not protected, were minimized and only compartmentalized by this city and it's council, whereas the rights of gays have been expressed to have somehow been protected. This issue needs and deserves immediate attention by this council.

It seems that the Peoria City Council should at least use this opportunity to either educate the public as to what the law states about "protected class" citizens in Peoria or become better educated themselves on the arising gay agenda and the difference between civil rights and gay rights. This is especially poignant since the State of Illinois is considering instituting civil unions as the law of the land, and citizens need to know where we currently stand.

If homosexual rights is the law of Peoria, we defer to such guidance as received from the council on the matter. If it is not, we advise that Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken issue a public statement of apology to both the bar owner Mr. Quast and the citizens of Peoria for misrepresenting the laws under which Peoria and the State Of Illinois operate.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Peoria Pastors Stand Against HB2354

A subcommittee of the Illinois General Assembly, by a vote of 5 to 2 has recommended Illinois House Bill 2354 to the floor for discussion and vote. Also known as the Reproductive Health Access Act, or the Illinois version of the Freedom Of Choice Act (FOCA) extends the following types of abortion rights:

The Law would make sure that noone could:

(1) deny or interfere with an individual's right to use or refuse contraception;

(2) deny or interfere with a pregnant woman's right to bear a child;

(3) deny or interfere with a pregnant woman's right to terminate a pregnancy:
  • (i) prior to the viability of the fetus or
  • (ii) when the termination of pregnancy is necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant woman; or
(4) require any woman to terminate pregnancy without her consent

In essence HB2354 allows a woman to receive an abortion on demand without any incumberances. This is especially problematic for any number of reasons and is a direct asault on the efforts of Pro-life advocates. The Peoria Association Of Pastors has identified some of the problems with this Bill. They are outlined as follows:

(1) The bill is a radical departure from current law

(2) The Bill seeks to make abortion a fundamental right, (ie: a human right)

(3) The Bill prevents any common-sense regulation such as parental notification;

(4) The Bill expands public funding of abortion through Medicaid and possibly state health insurance plans;

(5) The Bill undermines the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act protecting health care professionals and employers;

(6) The bill mandates comprehensive sex education for all public school children

The Black community has been the victim of abortion in disproportionate numbers. In my article, "Yes We Can ~Eliminate Abortion, Can't We?" I outline that out of the estimated 50 Million babies that have been killed since Roe v. Wade in 1973 an estimated 13 million children were from the black community. The facts are that there are an estimated 1,450 abortions per day that occur amongst persons of color.
Further, while getting rich off the backs of the poor with governmental assistance, the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood in particular, has perpetuated the myth that abortion on demand is essential in cases or rape or incest. The facts are that abortions resulting from rape or incest only account for 1.5% of all abortions annually. This is dramatically under the rate at which children are killed annually through abortion and "medically necessary" clauses which are only smokescreens.
Therefore it is the encouragement of the Peoria Pastors Assn. that every citizen contact the nearest State Representative to express their concern and disaproval of HB2354 as we do not wish this bill to become law further adding to the genocide of our Illinois communities. To look up your State Representative's contact information please go to the Illinois State Board Of Elections.To sign the petetion against HB2354 please go Students For Life Of Illinois and add you name.

Pastor Harvey Burnett
Exec. Director

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rescheduled Community Call To Action

The Peoria Pastor's Community Call To Action has been rescheduled to Thursday March 5th at 6:30 PM at the Dream Center located at 714 Hamilton Blvd. We will meet on the second floor in the Hamilton Conference room. Special thanks to Pastor John King and the Riverside Community Church Family.
In this vital meeting the Pastors hope to gain consensus on a far reaching community intervention plan. This plan called Peoria Safe Kids & Safe Families 2009 will be designed to create and focus on neighborhood initiatives and person to person contact with community members in order to help change lives.
Although this meeting is open to the public and interested persons, Pastors or their representatives are highly encouraged to attend and be present as this initiative will require the support of many churches a far reaching audience.
Questions About This Initiative:
Q~ My church and I are located in far North Peoria. How Can I be of impact in this effort?
A~ Although activities will be focused on statistically and speculated higher than average crime areas within inner City Peoria, this effort is inclusive of ALL of Peoria and ALL Peorians. Simply put, what happens in one area of town affects all Peorians. Each church and individual can be involved in developing a far reaching community plan as well as supporting interventions which they may be best suited to their membership makeup and ability to support. All "hands" will be appreciated and afforded opportunity to work, comment and provide input in this venture.
Q~ I want to maintain my religious identity. Will that be threatened?
A~ The efforts of the Peoria Assn. Of Pastors seek to be as doctrine neutral as possible. There is no ascription to certain doctrinal beliefs or religious affiliations for participation. The truth of the matter is that we realize that although we are a Christian organization participants that help this community may be from all corner and facets of the community. After all the community belongs to ALL of us. The mode, method and means for our outreach will be and most certainly is biblical from a Christian perspective, however anyone wishing to help need not be threatened by religious affiliation.
Q~ We have many prayer groups that already exist. Is this another one?
A~ The Peoria Safe Kids & Safe Families 2009 project is not a prayer fellowship such as we see with the Peoria Transformation Celebration, Peoria Prayer Furnace, PUSH Initiatives or the Peoria 40 Days Of Prayer. This initiative is a proactive action designed to physically and materially engage the culture with the Love of Christ. Of course "men should always pray and not faint" but the purpose of this gathering is to prayerfully place legs and actions of faith behind those prayers that have been prayed and continue to be prayed.
For additional information questions or comments regarding this or any other effort of the Peoria Assn. of Pastors, please don't hesitate to email Pastor Burnett at or call (309)688-6599. remember that each one is vital to the health, success, and safety of the Peoria Illinois community.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Church Community Action Plan

Many Peoria pastors and their representatives met Thursday night Feb.12th 2009 to discuss the current condition of the city as it pertains to gangs, drugs that currently proliferate within our city. We met to discuss the actions that the church must take in order to address the problem and the incluturation of our youth into what I call the "culture of death" that exists in many of our neighborhoods and among many of our youth. This is a very intense subject and a response must be equally as intense.
First, one should know there are no racial or color boundaries to the problem of gang inculturation and the proliferation of drugs which gives gangs fuel. This is not a "black thing" or a "white thing". This is a community problem and, at it's heart, a "sin" problem that has manifested itself through a disdain and disrespect for life and a completely new paradigm of morality and normalcy.
"We've always been considered a high-crime area for our population numbers," says Sgt. Jeff Adams, head of the Peoria Police Benevolent Association. Adams has been a Peoria policeman since 1978. The greatest change he's witnessed in that time has been the rise of street gangs, "an entire subculture that doesn't think the rules apply to them." ~ 1/12/2009
Secondly, we need not establish another prayer partnership in order to address this problem. Such prayer partnerships currently exist in the form of transformation celebrations, prayer furnaces, 40 days of prayer and PUSH initiatives. We have prayed and God is saying we must ACT as HE has already acted and set the stage for us. We must be reminded of the scripture that says,

James 2:21-26~ "21-Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22-Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23-And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24-Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25-Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26-For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
(emphasis added)

The church must actively engage the individuals all across Peoria but particularly in the effected areas. That engagement must take place in the form of door to door campaigns and other initiatives which are currently being formulated. We need both the support of individuals physically and financially to get this done. I also ask that each of you challenge your pastor to be a part of this we are not formulating another organization. This is a movement of churches and pastors who will not sit silently while community terrorists invade our streets, schools and community activities.
Should we be reminded of the "Steamboat Days 2008" or "Holy Family's Heritage Festival 2008"? I personally witnessed some of the most ridiculous behavior I've ever seen, at least publicly, in the City of Peoria and personally heard many people saying "somebody needs to do something about this" and others recant that those community events were no longer safe for their families to attend. Is that the condition that we want to leave things in in Peoria?
Well, I believe that I and we are that "somebody" and the time is NOW to act!
There are several criticism that must be overcome within the community of churches in order to do what must be done. One of the most prevalent criticisms surprisingly enough comes from the pastoral community:
Objection 1- If these individuals don't respect the church and are not willing to live under God's law, and have no respect for the law of the land, then what can we do to make people change against their will?
This question born out of frustration and underestimation of the power of God, is also an excuse for inaction, which, is the category that many of our churches fall into in Peoria. It should be noted that regardless of how it appears, if we believe the word of God we also believe that we have a commission to uphold:

Matt. 28:18- 20 ~ "18-And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19-Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20-Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

That commission does not entertain or even give rise for us to consider what "them" thinks or feels about us. In other words, the response of the individual is not our goal. The setting forth of the message is. That message is what changes lives and impacts hearts no matter how cold or deeply rooted in sin that heart is. Only God can change a mind and heart.
Secondly, there are not too many people that clamour to take medicine or do what's best for them under certain circumstances. Spiritually, the bible teaches that because sin exists, hearts have already been darkened by it,

Ephes. 4:17-19 ~ "17-This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18-Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19-Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."

In short, freewill is only exercised when their is choice that has been offered. Free will without choice or commitment is only an illusion. I believe that the church is best situated to bring individuals to the status of truly exercising their freewill, and I believe that most want a better life's situation and safer surroundings.
In conclusion, the cost of doing nothing at ground level and not engaging individuals is far greater than engaging and seemingly receiving no results.
Individuals had similar sentiments regarding Peoria's first and only gun exchange. Many had no idea that even one gun would be taken in. In truth in every exchange people had to be turned away due to lack of funds. We don't know what type of intervention that an honest and sincere face will be until we do it. We must act. Failure to do so is dereliction of duty and church responsibility.
Objection 2- We should pray and allow the police and governmental agencies to do the job of clearing house.
This is not even a redemptive statement and has continued to disproportionately effect blacks, the poor and minorities within our communities. Locking up all the criminals in Peoria doesn't address or solve the fundamental problems that we face. Our problems are more deeply centered and more expansive than meets the eye.
Example: When we have a Police Chief, such as we have, feels and verbalizes that all of the crime problem in Peoria is centered around 200 criminals that need to leave the area...WE HAVE A PROBLEM. Peoria's problems are greater than 200 people. Many of those problems include individuals within city leadership and hierarchy. So in essence what must be addressed is a complete moral value system that currently does not honor or value life. This is why the church must be engaged both politically and socially.
Objection 3: Some of these people don't want church. We would just be more of an antagonist.
Similar to Objection 1, this is another excuse to for inaction, because one cannot effectively tell what someone wants unless one asks them. Therefore, having a stereotype of what someone looks like that "wants church" is a big problem when engaging the culture.
In addition, because someone does not want God or the church does not mean that they should be unsupported in their moral lives. Some people wish to live morally and can live upholding certain moral values outside of the church. I have done articles on this HERE In essence, I do not believe that a person must become subject to the church before the church engages and seeks to better lives. The whole purpose of feeding the hungry and visiting them in prison wasn't to necessarily evangelize them but to be there for them and add life to them. Peoria is a well churched city, the church must come out of it's walls and engage this city before more lives are lost due to a corrupted sense of morality in the streets.
These are just some of the questions that I have run into from time to time discussing this brand of community involvement on behalf of the church.
In summary, I believe that we have 2 options. 1-We can bury our heads and piously pretend that problems don't exist or that reductions in reported PPD numbers are ok, or 2- we can become actively involved in rescuing the lost and helping those who can't perceive life any other way than it currently is.
Pastor or church leader, you decide. All I know is, I will do everything possible to prevent another murder such as the one that happened to my Godson, Mario McGee.
Another Pastor's meeting has been scheduled for Thursday Feb. 26th in which we will unveil and outline a Church Community Action plan and encourage all individuals to participate. Location for this meeting will be announced at the beginning of next week. Thank You.
Pastor Harvey Burnett
Exec. Director.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Pastoral & Community Call To Action

This was my 19 year old godson Mario McGee. A wonderful person, a hard worker, family oriented individual and an up and coming musician and songwriter. May God forever bless his memory.
Unfortunately, his death was the first murder of 2009 in the Peoria community and will hopefully be the last. In this post, I will share with you the contents of an email sent to as many area pastors as I could find in efforts to ask them to help us address the community terrorist group responsible for this killing. It is reported that gang warefare has existed in Peoria for quite some time. Particular groups have been responsible for multiple beatings, shootings and now a home invasion murder has been added to their list of misdeeds. It is time for the Pastoral community to rise once again to combat this enemy and transform the streets of our community and allow our children to live in safety.
We have finished another 40 Day Prayer Vigil, now, it is time to act.
Here is the email sent today Sunday Feb. 8th 2009:
Pastors & Friends,

Thank the Lord for each of you and the ongoing prayers for the safety and condition of Peoria.
I call upon you in hope to motivate you to stand along with us physically as we move into this 2009 battlefield against satan and the unseen powers that would terrorize our community:

Ephes. 6:11 ~ "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

For those of you who don't know or were not aware, I was the godparent of now deceased Mario McGee. Slightly over 19 years ago I held that young man in my hands feeding him a bottle and changing his pamper. It does my heart no good to have to bury him this week as he should have been a pallbearer or minister at my funeral.

Since our march and community rally of June 2006, that led to the areas first Gun Exchange, that led to the areas first 40 Days Of Prayer effort under Pastor Preston, That also included multiple other prayer efforts such as the Transformation Celebrations directed by Pastor Eckhardt and others, this area has not seen such a heinous crime or murder perpetuated upon a family. Mario begged that his mother's life was spared and God honored that prayer and although she was intended to be killed she is alive and dealing with the results today.

We are facing what I have known as a crisis for quite some time. Although the murder rate was down 2008 the incidence of illegal gun usage was up and there were people and cars shot at on a routine basis. (Gangs) with (their)/ it's loose network of community terrorist associates, have taken it upon themselves to terrorize our communities and inner city. We must act and must act as a cohesive group to defeat the enemy that is fueling these (various factions). However we will not fight with the weapons known and respected in the streets:

2 Cor. 10:3-4~ "3-For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4-(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)"

It is my prayer that you will join me at a community pastoral meeting to address this urgent situation at which I will unveil information that is essential in assisting with our understanding of this enemy that we face. I also plan to unveil a community strategy that will involve you and your church in a proactive method of attack against this terrorist group. I am convinced that our inaction is fuel to the flames of the community terrorists who have staked claim to our schools and our streets. It must end and that end must begin with us and our churches. I do not believe that we can expect a government bailout to assist us with this one.

Please join me at 6:30 PM Thursday evening at Higher Dimensions Worship Ctr. at 2610 W. Nebraska Peoria, IL. (Pastor Bob Randle)

Please pass this urgent request on to associates and other pastors who may also be interested in taking strong action against this (these) community terrorist group(s). Thank you and God bless you greatly.

Pastor Harvey BurnettPeoria Assn. Of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal Peoria, IL. 61615 (309)688.6599ofc. (309)648.8659cell

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New President CHANGE Has Come

The Peoria Association Of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal join in the chorus of continued prayer for the 44th President Of The United States Barack H. Obama. We wish to pledge our continued support for the benefit of both families and our community.

As we have stood in favor of the solid institutions that shape the values that we hold historically, we renew our committment to those values and principles that have upheld this nation and caused us to solidly and clearly turn a corner with the election of the first Black man ever sworn into the highest office of the United States.

Although we are fully aware of the challenges posed and challenges that we face, we firmly commit our efforts to the wellbeing of all men and women regardless of race color creed and look forward to setting forth and upholding sound biblical principles that will address the tough challenges that face us as a people within the Peoria Community. It is with this resolve that we echo the call of our elected President, asking all to renew their own personal committments to community service and causes that will improve the community for all men and women of Central Illinois.

Although history has been made, as Pastors we realize that HIS-STORY must continue to be told. Thank you.

Pastor Harvey Burnett

Exec. Director

Thank You Bill Cosby

The Peoria Association Of Pastors For Community & Spiritual Renewal wishes to thank comedian and actor Dr. Bill Cosby for his reflections of his past, the community and our collective future in the education of our children.

On Monday Jan. 19th 2009 Dr. Cosby was the guest speaker at the M.L. King Jr. Holiday celebration held at the Peoria Civic Center. Born in the late 1930's Mr. Cosby's reflections of his personal experiences and family members went back more than 2 generations to his Grandfather who was born in the 1800's. It was from this wealth of wisdom and experience that Dr. Cosby conducted his speech to an audience of over 2000 and a parent session with children of over 100 afterward.

To diffuse any negative overtones normally associated with Dr. Cosby's presentation, it should be noted that he often spoke poignantly and clearly regarding the current condition of the modern family and the historical problems associated with childhood abandomnent, neglect and sexual abuse. Dr. Cosby also offerd a range of examples including white and black individuals for the purpose of his speech and encouragements, and consequentely comments were directed across the board to all citizens who would seek to understand the resultant problems of very difficult and sometimes highly sensitive situations that he addressed.

One of the issues that Dr. Cosby clearly identified as both problematic to his family and the community in which he grew up was the rampant and devastating effects of alchohol and alchoholism. He described that his passion to speak to the community was born out of situations in which he and his siblings witnessed his father abuse his mother while under the influence of alchohol and further cause the family to be displaced both physically and financially because of this choice. As an association of Pastors we reverberate those same sentiments because the effects of alchoholism are readily seen within the Peoria community and even so it seems that the city is intent on siding with liquior expansion. As an association we stand firmly against such efforts to expand what is called the 4 AM zone.

Dr. Cosby also distinguished the difference between past generations and current culture which seeks to glorify negatives and cling to harmful images of death destruction and mysoginistic attitudes towards women. For those who have studied this issue it is easy to observe that his comments were directed toward the current inculturations and trends that we see that encompass racial and gender boundaries. One such study that I have done can be found both HERE and HERE.
Dr. Cosby also gave wonderful examples of how education can reach and lift our children. In a stunning example Dr. Cosby pretended to be a student and asked a teacher to explain why he should learn and be excited about learning math. After some consternation and a few failed attempts to provide a motivating answer, dr. Cosby explained that the modern teaching professional must approach their student with the same enthusiasm with which they approach their profession. In other words if the teaching profession is not excited about what they do, how can they expect the student to be excited about it? Secondly, he explained that from the chair that the student sits in unto the lights that hang in the ceiling that math was used to make it all work. Third, he also explained that even the video games that many of our children commonly play was based on mathematical equations and individuals who loved and understood math enough to not only shape their financial futures but the future of nations.

Dr. Cosby's visit was more than worth the time effort and energy to bring him here and his message was highly on point and pertinent to our current situation. We encourage Peoria School District 150 to involve themselves more in the philosophical views of Dr. Cosby. In contrast to the Pacific Institute, we find Dr. Cosby's material to be more in line with what students from a diverse setting actually need, more in tune with the devastating effects of life situations on the classroom educational environment and most importantly NOT a religious or humanism indoctrination effort that the Pacific Institute has peddled to PPSD 150.

Therefore we wish to thank Dr. Cosby for his appearance and in our opinion he can't return quickly enough to provide more educational insights and wisdom.

Pastor Harvey Burnett
Exec. Director