Rev. Runney Patterson continues push for ’21 Days of Peace’

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The Rev. Runney Patterson is the spiritual leader at New Hope Baptist Church on the East Side of St. Paul. But his leadership extends far beyond his “ministry of hope” at the corner of Bradley Street and Minnehaha Avenue.

“I try my best to be the voice of the voiceless,” Patterson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “And I just believe if they are hungry, we’re supposed to feed them. If they are naked, given them clothes and if they are thirsty give them water. And even if they are in trouble with gang life, we should do all we can to bring them to the other side of life.”

Six nights a week, Patterson and his volunteers can be found on a street corner on St. Paul’s East Side trying to reach out to others with a message called “21 Days of Peace.” The initiative is designed to help curb violence in so-called “hot spots” in neighborhoods that have faced in an inordinate amount of crime over the past couple years.

“It gets a little disheartening at times especially with the recent quadruple homicide and the mass shooting on West Seventh,” said Patterson. “But the 21 Days of Peace has now been going for 110 days since the summer, and there has been progress made in those neighborhoods and we receive thanks from the community, police and business leaders.”

Patterson’s church also feeds the homeless every day starting at noon and his ministry has consistently gone into encampments to makes sure people have enough food, clothing and anything else they might need for their families, or themselves.

“Our whole message is hope because there are a lot of good things happening and there are positive things that bring a lot of hope,” said Patterson. “We will continue to do this work and we know a change is coming and we want others to feel the same way.”

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said Patterson’s involvement in the community, especially the 21 Days of Peace, has definitely made a big impact on lessening violent crime in neighborhoods that are visited by Patterson and his volunteers.

“There is no question that their presence on Rice and Sherburne and on Rice and Charles has greatly reduced the violence there and the shootings,” Fletcher said. “You know, unfortunately, there are not enough Rev. Pattersons out there because he can’t be everywhere.”

Patterson was recently elected president of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention. There will be a gala celebrating his inauguration Oct. 29 at the Eagan Vikings Lake Hotel.

“We have national speakers coming here for the gala and musical guests as well,” said Karlowba Powell, chief of staff of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention. “You see Rev. Patterson leading by example because he is not the type of leader to just sit back and talk about it, you know, as you say he is in the trenches and does the hands-on work.”

Tickets are still available for the Minnesota State Baptist Convention gala. More information is available online.