(Locator: Peoria, Illinois)
Peoria has symptoms of an ailment many cities share.
Officer Brock Lavin: “It just seems to be getting worse.”
The mayor suggested a new anti-crime offensive.
Mayor Jim Ardis: “Not just through the traditional law enforcement but
also encouraging and soliciting the support of the faith based
And, churches organized 40 straight days of prayer.
Every night at First United Methodist church, people from diverse
neighborhoods pray hand in hand for peace on the streets.
Every night, a different tone; sometimes conservative, sometimes
Rev. Timothy Bias, First United Methodist Church: “The context for me is there
was an economic study that showed that Peoria was one of the most
segregated cities in America. That’s educationally, economically,
politically, as well as racially. When we have predominantly all white
congregations coming together to pray with predominantly all black
congregations, we’re making a difference in this city.”
Averaging 150 people at each gathering, there are prayers for city
leaders, educators, kids in tough neighborhoods.
Woman praying: “Lord God that are following gangs because maybe they
don’t have something in their homes to follow...”
Jacque Buurman, First United Methodist Church: “It’s not that we’re going
for 40 days and zap, there’s not going to crime in the city. What’s
happening is each night as we pray more and more, more hearts are moved
and more people can make a difference.”
Gigi Gibson, City On The Hill Church of Christ, “It’s opening up a
dialogue with people of other faith, other denominations. People have
decided, that nothing is working, let’s try God.”
Out on the street…
Officer Brock Lavin: “Drugs, guns, basically, any contraband we can
...busy officers do not discount the prayer initiative.
Officer Brock Lavin: “We’ll take all the help we can get.”
There’s actually been less violent crime in Peoria since the prayer
initiative began with the new year. Is that because prayers are working
or because it’s been very cold this January? It’s obviously too soon to
try and analyze results. Participants say this is a long-term approach
to changing people’s hearts, before their lives and the city can be
For more information about 40 days of prayer, contact First United
Methodist Church of Peoria at 309-673-3641 or visit their Web site at
Peoria gathers for 40 days of prayer against crime