Clergy Action Team ready to start helping Myrtle Beach heal
Myrtle Beach, S.C. (WPDE) —
A group of clergy is helping police cut down on recent violence in Myrtle Beach.
The Clergy Action Team was formed a few months ago and trained by the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
The purpose of the team is to unite the community and police in instances of violence or disaster.
Members of the team say it's better to have the training and the relationships, and not need them, than to need the team and not have it.
"Now is the right time to meet because we see a lot of issues happening with gun violence in our city, and how do we address those issues? How do we go in and work with the police, work with those communities, and say, 'Hey guys, enough is enough?'" said Rev. Timothy McCray, a community leader and chaplin at Coastal Carolina University.
The Clergy Action Team now has a plan in place to better help the community if anything happens.
"The department chaplin will be the first person contacted then, at that point, they can contact the clergy team for support," said Cam Thomas, volunteer chaplin for the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
With all of the recent violence, they say the people in our community need others to lean on and they want to be that shoulder.
"Offer pastoral care, grief counseling, follow-up support for people who have been the victims," said Thomas.
They say they're planning to model their group after similar teams in other communities. One of the most influential was the Charleston clergy group that formed after the church shooting in 2015.
"Watching faith leaders come together and put together a plan that included law enforcement, as well as community, to show that the healing could only take place if we were working together," said Stephen Brown, pastor at Living Word Baptist Church.
Team members said they plan to work hard, but they also need the community to work with them.
"Call us. Often times, whereas a citizen may not feel comfortable directly speaking to law enforcement, they might feel more comfortable talking to one of the clergymen," said Brown.
The team has roughly 150 members now, but they are not against expanding it. Clergy of all religions are welcome.
The goal of the Clergy Action Team is to reach as much of the community as possible so everyone has someone to reach out to when they need them.