Faith coalition appeals for united effort against knife crime after schoolgirl's death

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A faith coalition is calling on churches, politicians and the police to redouble their efforts to end knife crime after a schoolgirl was tragically stabbed to death in Croydon last week. 

A 17-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the death of Elianne Andam, 15, who was killed on her way to school last Wednesday. She came from a devout Christian family who described her as "kind" and someone who "loved Jesus". 

The Synergy Network, a coalition of churches and Christian organisations working to end serious youth violence, is calling for action after Elianne became the 15th teenage homocide in London this year.

Bishop Lenford Rowe, Chair of the Synergy Network, said her death had "troubled me deeply" and was a "wake-up call that more needs to be done".

"Enough, really is enough. How long can we stand by and watch our young people die in such violent, needless circumstances," he said.

"I am calling on our churches, politicians and the police to double down on the work they are doing to address youth knife crime. We must all take responsibility and play our part in bringing it to an end."

He wants the tragedy to become a "Kairos moment" to tackle knife crime so that young people can walk the streets of Britain's cities without fear.

"While it is important to pray, there are also so many practical actions we can take as churches to address this matter," he said, pointing people to The Synergy Network's website for more information and resources.

He added: "I really do not want to be in a similar position next year; calling for us to once again to do something after a similar tragedy. Let us use this tragic event as a Kairos moment to tackle knife crime.

"Knives are ruining lives and destroying communities. Let us do something as churches; as communities to tackle this. Let us also work with the police and politicians in their efforts to address this matter and be prepared to call them to account if they are not."