Local pastor uses casket to drive home dramatic anti-violence message

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 2, 2015) - To date this year, there have been 91 homicides in Indianapolis. The pastor of the Greater New Hope Church like many has seen enough. So, in a small way, he decided to make a huge statement.

“What is going on in our neighborhoods is not acceptable,” said Pastor Anthony Pippens.

Pippens saw one too many caskets with the faces of young men inside.

“We knew that we had to do something in lieu of the black on black crimes that are here in the Circle City,” he said.

He took what he’d seen too much of, a casket, and used it to drive home a simple, scary message.

“We wanted something that would draw attention and something that would be shocking to those that would be the viewers,” he said.

A young-looking, black mannequin sits inside the casket, with a sign that reads, “Who’s next.”

“We want to be known as people who are concerned about the community, about the murders, the drug deals, the sales,” said Pippens.

On somewhat of a casket campaign, he takes his message with church members to peace rallies, into the city’s hot spots of high crime.

“The impact of the dummy sends a message. It’s a psychological message that you could be next,” said Pippen’s friend and fellow preacher, Reverend Michael Wolley.

Wolley said the project has already had an impact, “When they walked through the community, the neighbors would come outside, they would look out the window, they would come out on the porches to notice and observe,” he said.

“I’m sure that we have been the cause of someone doing something different and turning around,” said Pippens.

If you’d like to join Pastor Pippens on his casket campaign, his next rally against violence will be Saturday September 26 at 6p.m. at the intersection of 16th and Riverside.

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