The Community Ministers of Bastrop hold prayer vigil to promote unity

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BASTROP, La. (KNOE) - The Community Ministers of Bastrop say it’s time to take their city back.

Leaders and members from the community stood on the steps of the Morehouse Parish Courthouse to pray and promote change for the place they call home.

"There seems to have been a spirit of death that is hovering over our city of Bastrop," says Minister Michelangelo Watkins of St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

The recent death of a child this week in this same community weighed heavy on the mind of Watkins. The young boy’s passing, along with a series of other unforeseen events in Bastrop motivated him to call this emergency vigil.

"God gave me a vision to pull all the churches together, to get all of the faith leaders in this community together. So I got with my pastor, I told him what was going on in my mind and the vision God had given me and he said let's do it," says Watkins.

A number of people provided testimonies and challenged those in attendance to step up and become better leaders within their neighborhoods.

"When we came up, families worked with each other. In our times, I think the saying was 'everybody has a child.' Whether that child was your biological child, they had the right to treat us like their child," says Senior Pastor Steven Conley of St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

A tall order that Minister Michelangelo Watkins says will require a tremendous amount of effort. But he believes he's up to the task.

"It's time for the church to step up. Only the church can save itself. We can save this community but it's going to take a group effort," says Watkins.

There will be a meeting the Monday after Easter with community leaders to strategize on a game plan to move forward.