City council members revive practice of attending church together - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

City council members revive practice of attending church together

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Tensions have run high at city hall in recent weeks over the vote against loosening residential requirements for Memphis police officers, but there was little evidence of those tensions on Sunday, when seven Memphis City Council members attended church together.

Harold Collins, Kemp Conrad, Edmund Ford, Jr., Janis Fullilove, Wanda Halbert, Myron Lowery, and Jim Strickland came together to attend a Sunday service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. 
 
Council chairman Myron Lowery said Rev. Frank Thomas' sermon on family was appropriate for the occasion. 

"We're a family in this city. We're a family on the city council," he said. "And we will continue to work together for the common good of all our citizens."  
    
The show of unity comes after a recent vote, divided along racial lines, against loosening police residency rules. All white council members voted for the proposal, while all black council members voted against it.

Lowery said that, about a decade ago, the council started a tradition of periodically attending church services together, but that tradition has waned in recent years. Councilman Kemp Conrad recently recommended that the council revive the practice.

"Dr. King said the most divided hour in America is noon on Sunday," said Conrad. "One of the things we hope to do is smash that wall and notion."
    
While the council demonstrated solidarity on Sunday, the question is...can they do the same when they meet at city hall on Tuesday? That's when any council members who voted against the police residency proposal could move to reconsider their votes.
         
With several new ideas being discussed, Conrad says he's open to finding a compromise. "I think all options should be on the table. Crime and increasing public safety is this community's number one priority."

Conrad said the council has agreed to attend church together about once a month, starting with fellow council members' churches and then branching out to other places of worship in the community, including synagogues.


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