Church groups gather in Washington Park to cry out for peace: "The gun violence needs to cease"

MILWAUKEE -- Crying out for peace. On Saturday morning, June 20th church groups rallied members of the community -- coming together in an effort to put a stop to the violence in Milwaukee.

"Trying to garner as many young people as we can," said Albert Brown with the Greater Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

Uplifting songs playing inside Washington Park in Milwaukee were meant to draw people out of their homes and encourage kids to participate in the day's events.

"Charity starts at home and spreads abroad. If you got your house in order, your children won't have to come outside and look for love in all the wrong places. Love covers a multitude of sins," said Cynthia Hunt with the Inter-Denominational Church of the One Lost Sheep.

Love for yourself and each other was expressed in a multitude of ways including entertainment and motivational speaking.

"Trying to just encourage our kids to come to church. We need to give the Lord a try. A lot of us have backed away and allow just anything to happen, so subsequently, you see the evidence in the news," said Brown.

"The gun violence and stuff needs to cease," said Hunt.

Pastor Martha Freeman says reaching out to the community is imperative.

"Some of our friends are killing our friends' children, so we been going through showing love to those who have experienced tragedies -- angry or hurt -- trying to work with safe zones to get jobs for the people who just stand on the corner and just smoke and sell their lives away," said Pastor Freeman.

Freeman mentors many children, and she says what's most important is changing a mindset and using unfortunate incidents like the officer-involved shooting and subsequent manhunt in Milwaukee on Friday, June 19th as an example.

"It's unfortunate we have those who shoot a policeman. All of that that gives me the opportunity to talk to them about it -- to discourage that kind of behavior," said Pastor Freeman.

Although the event was held at Washington Park, the organizers are hoping the message spreads well beyond the grounds and that each person reached can make a difference.