Residents Pray for Brandon Park and North Lufkin

A group of Lufkin residents thanked God Thursday for what's being done in their neighborhood. Just a few weeks ago, religious and community leaders asked city officials to do something about the many problems in North Lufkin. They're already starting to see some improvements.

Pastor Lonnie Williams of Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church said, "Our park is being overtaken by undesirables, but we're thanking our city manager [and] our chief of police, that they went to work to address the needs that we have in this North Lufkin community. The needs were that in order to have revitalization, there had to be a certain sense of discipline in law enforcement here in this area."

North Lufkin is a predominantly black community, but drugs and crime are everyone's problem.

Pastor Anthony Holder of New Life Worship Center said, "God's going to tear down some strongholds that are over here. We're here to pray for this area as we do all around the city. We go to different cities, different churches, and as a prayer fellowship, we just believe that God's going to change our community as we pray."

But they know it'll take a lot more than prayer to clean up Brandon Park and other areas where drug deals and prostitution are common. They realize police can't do the job by themselves.

"We're getting community involvement in to address the needs, not only law enforcement," said Pastor Williams. "We're bringing about economic development into the North Lufkin community because if you're community's gonna survive, you gotta have some economic development, and in order for economic development to come in, you gotta make it attractive for people to come in."

Since Pastor Williams and other members of the East Texas Ministerial Alliance cried out to authorities, the city has stepped up patrols in North Lufkin, but the changes Williams has planned for the area won't stop there. He calls changing and improving the community a long-term goal that has to start at home with the people living here.