ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — There is a new lead pastor in the Rockford community who is making it his priority to minimize crime.
Reverend Dr. Jonathon Williams’ goal is to create a program allowing people to speak with individuals who have switched paths away from crime.
“My job as a pastor, as a leader, is to show them that you have options,” Williams said.
The pastor at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1703 S Central Ave, is new to the “Forest City,” but his passion for helping people get out of the path of crime is not.
“I found out one of the key reasons people commit crimes is because they feel like they have no other options,” Williams said. “I believe in partnering with the local police department and Sheriff’s Department, other agencies, because I believe the church should be more than just a building.”
He has already met with Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd to talk about that sense of community.
“Wonderful conversation with her, and I pledged our support to see what we can do as a church to assist her in her agenda to prevent crime,” Williams said. “We see many young men, and young women incarcerated, and the first thing we’re like is shame on you, but what are we doing as a faith-based organization to assist the police, in preventing those people going into the system.”
Williams’ goal is to create a program partnering vulnerable teens with adults, and peers, who have looked for a life outside of crime.
“I just believe that a lot of times, people are more comfortable talking with someone who has gone down that same road and have overcome, than they will for someone who has never been down there, but may be educated,” Williams said. “I have some very talented people right here in our organization, in our church, that’s assisting me getting this agenda out there.”
Williams hopes to roll out the program by this spring.