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Memphis Pastor has a passion in his fight against crime

By Sharon Mister

Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church, has been fighting the rising crime
in Memphis with a passion.
The 66-year-old, who has just one foot show, has a courageous smile that he uses in his efforts
to rid the city of crime even though it is still a major issue.
Yes, I continue to go out into to the community and violent crime continues to increase,
White said.
White has been on the battle field fighting crime in the Memphis community for 10 years.
It began at a Gangster Disciples reunion some years ago in a Memphis park, White said. I
went to the reunion and began to talk and play with those guys and they listened. It began
from there; I was not afraid to hang out with them.
It was not until a statistics report was released in 2010 that stated the area which Whites
church resides at 123 S. Parkway was one the most violent communities in the city of Memphis
and the state of Tennessee. I said, Oh, we have to do something. This cant be true, White
said. This led to him meeting with his church members and they organized a plan to take their
ministry to the streets.
The members do outreach in areas that are considered to have the most highly concentrated
crime rate. At first when we arrive, they scatter White said. Then later they would come
back around and some listen to what we have to say. We minister to them and pray for them.
In 2010 White also organized along with the members of his Church the God So Loved
movement which occurs annually in February (Black History Month). This movement involved a
collaborative outreach with other church ministries to meet downtown at 201 Poplar (the
Criminal Justice Center) and join hands while forming a circle of prayer around the facility for
those incarcerated.
There are hundreds of people that come, White said. We pray for those that are inside that
are in need of our prayers. I had a mother call me later to tell me that her son saw us out there
praying; knew we were praying for them; our prayers were received.
In an interview in January on Live at 9 on WREG Pastor White was present along with youth
minister, Eric Ballentine (ex-gang member). During this interview Ballentine attributed the
God So Loved movement as to why he is no longer a gang member. White said that the
movement has also changed others.

The Gas for Guns is another movement organized by White in his fight which its purpose is to
get the guns off the street. Each individual that turns in a gun receives a gas card (maximum of
three) from participating sponsors.
I know that this does not get all of the guns off the street, he admits. You are not going to be
able to get all of them off the street.
White has been married to his wife, Janet for 31 years and as first lady of their church, he says,
My wife is my motivator and a great supporter. She, my children and my grandchildren are my
greatest accomplishments.
How would you approach the teenage mob attacks such as the one which occurred at the
Kroger store in September, I asked. White said with a smile, I would continue the same. This
is a spiritual warfare and I have to continue doing what I am doing through the gospel.
The fight against crime is a part of the Pastors ministry. Some might view that his fight against
crime is a lost cause. The question is what keeps him motivated and driven for the cause.
The need, White said. You saw me on the phone when I arrived. I had just received a
phone call letting me know that our building next to the church had been vandalized. We have
just finished a seven day revival at the church and in the community, he continued. I could
give up; but that tells me there is still a need.