From pulpits, calls to end bloodshed Boy’s death spurs clergy to speak out

Worshipers joined hands, swayed in song, and prayed for the family of Jaewon Martin, the 14-year-old boy recently killed on a city basketball court. They prayed, too, for strength, comfort, and an end to street violence.

But when the preacher took to the pulpit, he called on the congregation to act, as well as pray; faith alone would not suffice.

“Who’s tired of the bloodshed?’’ asked the Rev. William E. Dickerson II in a fiery sermon yesterday morning at Greater Love Tabernacle in Dorchester. “Who’s going to get out in the streets and make a difference in the lives of young people?’’

Yesterday, just days after Martin’s funeral, clergy in predominantly African-American congregations across Boston spoke out against youth violence and vowed to minister to way ward teenagers in hope of preventing more deaths. They pledged to turn the grief from Martin’s death into resolve.

“Our community is in turmoil,’’ said Arthur T. Gerald Jr., pastor of Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. “We lost a young man, 14 years of age. Folks, we need to do something. We need to do something to step this tide of violence against our young people.’’

Jaewon Martin was killed May 8 by an unidentified gunman at a city basketball court in Roxbury. A friend was wounded but survived. Police have not made any arrests.

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