DECATUR — One of the leaders of a religious service Sunday to combat gun violence said the answers will not be found by Christians who sit in church to pray but do nothing else.

Apostle Roland Cook, pastor of God’s Supply House, said the faithful must go out into the streets to spread the Gospel and comfort and minister to those sick in heart or sick in their minds. Only then will we have any chance of stopping the anger or mental sickness that prompts people to pick up a gun and lash out at their perceived enemies or society in general.

“The mission or purpose or job of the church is to go out and preach the Gospel to every creature,” said Cook, 50. “Jesus told us to go out into all the world and that is what we’re missing, and we’ve been missing it for a long time.”

Cook was speaking at a service hosted in the Decatur Civic Center that also involved pastors from Heart of Christ Church and New Vision Christian Church. The Rev. Michael Hoy of First Lutheran Church was one of several pastors who read about the event in the Herald & Review and came to show their support, along with Decatur City Councilman Pat McDaniel and Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider.

Hoy said the recent spate of shootings in Decatur and the mass killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., meant it was time for a serious look at the causes of gun violence. He faulted cutbacks in social services and mental health care for endangering society but also said it was time to embrace sensible gun control legislation.

“And if there was ever an event that made it possible that we could move on the issue of gun control, it was the slaughter of the holy innocents in Newtown, Connecticut,” he added.

Schneider told more than 60 people gathered for the service there was “too much killing” in Decatur and that public/police cooperation was essential in counteracting it. He said that meant law enforcement had to be willing to listen to the suggestions and concerns of the public, and he was ready to do that any time. “I have an ear, and I have the time to listen to each and every one of you,” he added.

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