When the time came to support his congregation in rising in opposition to violence, New Life Covenant pastor Danny Flores said enough is enough.
“We just want to pray for the peace,” he said. “I’m sure that not only us but many people around the country are tired, are tired of what is happening. They’re exhausted, and we believe that all lives matter. It’s not just the blue lives and black lives, we believe that all lives matter.”
In response to lives lost in recent shootings, many churches, including New Life Covenant in Elgin, held anti-violence rallies Tuesday night.
Flores said there’s a disconnect in the national conversation regarding violence in America. While there are more people who are looking to engage in a dialogue, he said others are more interested in talking, not listening.
“There’s a lot of people talking, but there’s a lot of good people in our community that want to make a difference,” Flores said. “I’ve been talking to some people from the police department that want to make a difference. I’ve talked to people that are not from my religion that want to make a difference. This is not about Christianity; this is not about the police. This is about everybody coming together and making a difference.”
John Mariotti, of Geneva, said he sees great value in taking part in the rally.
“I believe it’s an outward action to show our hearts are motivated and we’re broken to see the struggles of the black community and the confusion that’s going on,” he said. “It’s not what God intended, and we’re hoping for a better time and a better day.”
Mariotti’s wife, Linda, shared similar sentiments.
“Our hope, our prayer is that we’re all one,” she said. “Our hearts are united and we want to get along. We want to love everybody.”
Anthony Coleman, of Elgin, said taking part in the event was important to him.
“It’s hard right now because there’s no conflict resolution out here,” Coleman said. “Everybody is just doing.”
Coleman noted the way in which TV news fails to show both sides to the relationships between police officers and members of the community. He said it’s great knowing the length at which the Elgin Police Department engages with residents.
“I believe they’re thorough, they’re out there, they’re available…” Coleman said. “I think that’s why this is a good event to have to show that. Because you have to show the good with the bad, and we need to do more of that for both sides.”
Flores said Tuesday’s rally was the first of several ways the church hopes to improve relations between police officers and members of the community.
“We believe that God has called the church to be the head and not the tail,” he said. “We got to lead the way, that’s why we’re stepping out. We want to lead the way, we want to make a difference.”