ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Several Orangeburg leaders are praying on issues that are impacting the town.
"I've been told if there is something that really bothers you, get in the middle of it," said Rev. Karey L. Poinsette, St. Luke Presbyterian Church.
"We see that gang violence and a lot of homicides are on the rise," explained Mayor Michael Butler. "We had a major shooting that involved one of our teachers who was murdered."
The City of Orangeburg invited ministers, law enforcement, and lawmakers from all over the county to the first-ever 'Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.' It's a branch off of a regular event the Orangeburg Ministerial Alliance used to host. The purpose is to get the faith community on the frontlines to help reduce gun violence, encourage residents to get vaccinated, and curb crime.
"There are still some open wounds from when the teacher got killed," said Mayor Butler. "People loved him; he made a difference, and he was a mentor for many students."
"We should go back to the drawing board on how to attack this," said Rev. Poinsette.
The pastor for St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Orangeburg. He says the community should peel back the layers of why these issues are affecting Orangeburg.
"How do we put together this task force to start to address not necessarily how we stamp out something, but how to redirect whatever we take charge of," asked Rev. Poinsette.
Orangeburg's mayor, says now that the awareness is out, it's time for action.
"I ran on keeping a safe community," expressed Mayor Butler. "So that's going to be our focus on how we can bring awareness to this violence and find a solution."