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Pray and worship with us at 6:30 pm today with Rev. Charles Harrison and Barnes United Methodist Church ... See MoreSee Less
Charles Harrison Decides Not To Run For Mayor Of Indianapolis
Charles Harrison Decides Not To Run For Mayor Of Indianapolis Rev. Charles Harrison. courtesy Rev. Charles Harrison INDIANAPOLIS -- A well-known Indianapolis pastor has decided not to run for mayor, despite an independent effort to get him on the ballot. Rev. Charles Harrison confirmed to WFYI Wednesday morning that he is not running, saying his family and parish are more important. A formal statement is expected later in the day. That will leave the race for mayor to two major-party candidates. Harrison is the pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church, located on Indianapolis' northwest side, one of the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. He is a leading member of the Ten Point Coaltion, a faith-based organization working to reduce violence. This was the second time Harrison flirted with a run for the city's top elected post. He briefly formed an exploratory committee in December, but closed it while Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams, a close friend, briefly mounted a candidacy. A petition earlier this summer collected enough signatures to get Harrison on the ballot as an independent, but Harrison did not file the subsequent paperwork. The deadline to do that is noon Wednesday. Harrison has a wife and two young daughters. He told WFYI the timing to run for mayor wasn't right. "I want to be a part of their life" and not have them "grow up to resent me," Harrison said Tuesday of his eight and nine-year-old children. In an interview last week, Harrison has this to say about his contemplation on running: "The voice of the less fortunate in this city is not being heard. And I think a lot of people want to see a mayor that's going to put the people first, above politics," Harrison said. "My friend Charles Harrison is deeply invested in this city and has dedicated his life to promoting peace on our streets. As federal prosecutor, I saw first-hand the impact his efforts have had in neighborhoods across our city. Whether through his shepherdship of Barnes United Methodist Church or the impactful work of the Ten Point Coalition, I am confident that Reverend Harrison will continue to play an important role in discussions as to how we can make Indianapolis a safer, stronger city for all."
"There are no places for the kids to go so the kids then hang out in the streets," said Rev. Charles Harrison, director of the Ten Point Coalition and pastor at the Barnes United Methodist Church on West 30th Street, which is hosting one of the safe haven events.
"Particularly in the past couple of years we had some trouble while the kids were out of school, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, so we decided we're going to do it this year," said Rev. Harrison.
"Reducing gun violence has to be the No. 1 priority of the Black community," said Rev. Charles Harrison, pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church and a leader of the Ten Point Coalition, an alliance of faith-based leaders and concerned individuals dedicated to stopping violence.
"That's where we need to get our city to put more of our resources. Newtown received a lot of publicity, but in the Black community we are losing kids everyday," Harrison said. But Rev. Harrison blames guns and advocates new gun control laws. In this, he is joined by white liberals eager to disarm the historic American nation.
Feature Stories > Rev. Charles Harrison's Crime-Fighting Coalition Is in the Line of Fire
Rev. Charles Harrison's Crime-Fighting Coalition Is in the Line of Fire The Ten Point Coalition aims to reduce gun violence and black-on-black crime in the city's urban core, yet it is the group and its leader, Rev. Charles Harrison, who find themselves coming under attack. "I feel like we are doing this by ourselves and fighting a losing battle," says Rev. Charles Harrison. Ten Point and its vocal president, 53-year-old Rev. Charles Harrison, have a knack for finding trouble even when they're not looking for it. Yet Harrison and Ten Point find themselves in the line of fire, both on and off the streets. Rev. Frank Moore, the man who inspired Harrison to enter the ministry, describes his one-time student as a prophet. Once, when Harrison was 13, the phone at his family's home in Jeffersonville, Indiana, rang in the middle of the night. He watched as the caller's message brought his father to his knees. Harrison's 21-year-old stepbrother had been killed. That night, the stepbrother, also named Charles, had been across the Ohio River in Louisville, riding in a vehicle with several friends. He was shot seven times, dumped from the vehicle, and left to die on the roadside. The likely motive: drugs. Charles picked himself up from the ground and staggered almost a mile in search of help. Eventually, he reached a home where someone called 911. But before EMTs could get him to a hospital, he bled to death. (Charles's son, Juwan, who was just 1 year old at the time of his father's death, would meet a similar fate years later.) Harrison felt a thunderbolt of rage when next he saw the men he suspected of pulling the trigger. "His so-called friends, the ones who ended up killing Charles, they came to the wake," he says. "That to me said, when you're in the street, friendship means nothing. It's all business. There are no friends in The Game." Not long afterward, Harrison and a few others decided to take matters into their own hands, tracking down Charles's killers and working to acquire guns. Before Harrison was able to execute the retaliation, however, a group of adults from his church learned of the plan and confronted him. "It was just a matter of those men talking to me, showing me they cared by getting involved in my life at a very personal level-that was enough," he says. "They steered me in the right direction, and I truly believe that led to my calling." By 17, Harrison had set aside a promising athletic career (he played football, basketball, and baseball and ran track at Jeffersonville High School), and he began spending more time at church, struck by the energy of the new pastor, fresh from seminary and just 11 years his senior. Charlie would show up to church meetings wearing a ball cap-he was a great athlete, wonderful running back for his high-school team-and just sit and listen. I eventually invited him and some of the others to my home and taught them to play chess. Not only was Charlie athletic, he was competitive, very determined, and while he was fair, he always played to win." Swayed one Sunday by a Moore sermon-"Come to the Feast"-Harrison approached the pastor after the service, gave his life to Christ, and explained that he felt "the calling. Moore mentored the young man and, Harrison says, had "a profound effect on my life at a point where I might have gone either way. Harrison completed his undergraduate degree at Indiana University in Bloomington, and then received a Master of Divinity in Delaware, Ohio, at Methodist Theological School. Upon graduation, he was appointed pastor of a United Methodist Church in New Castle, Indiana, where he spent seven years before his bishop transferred him to Barnes United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, in 1993. "I was concerned when he first started preaching," says Moore, who was pastor of another UMC congregation in Indianapolis when Harrison took over at Barnes. (Moore now works in Philadelphia.) "He was imitating me, had all of my idiosyncrasies, my hand gestures-everything. I pulled him aside one day and said, 'Now, listen, Charles, I'm going to tell you the same thing my mother told me: 'God called you to be you, not someone else.'" Harrison found his own voice in 1998, when he heard Rev. Eugene Rivers speak. Rivers, a Pentecostal minister, founded the first Ten Point Coalition in Boston to combat violence in his neighborhood. "Hearing Rev. Rivers speak reminded me of what happened to my stepbrother Charles, reminded me of the mistakes I almost made as a teen," says Harrison. "It seemed like a natural fit-Ten Point was something I needed to be involved with. Harrison's past dovetailed with his future, and over the years he found an unflinching mission that was uniquely his own. "Charlie is what I would call a prophetic minister," says Moore. Charles does all that, but he walks with gangs, challenges the police and politicians. Categories: Crime , People , City Life , Politics Tags: Feature Stories , Greg Ballard , Troy Riggs , crime , Terry Curry , Indianapolis Recorder , Rev. Charles Harrison , Ten Point Coalition , Amos Brown , Rev. Frank Moore , Eddie Owens , Duane White