“Block party” disrupting programs at Memphis church

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The pastor of a North Memphis church is frustrated after he said groups of people continue to gather outside his church gambling, arguing and selling drugs.

”Why they keep coming is beyond my concept. I can’t understand it,” said Pastor Andrew Terry of the Life of Liberty Church on Tate Avenue.

Pastor Terry said the groups gather near the driveway of his church nearly every evening.

”We have a rehab program that we are trying to conduct. Who’s going to come down here? The people are afraid,” he said.

The pastor said he has preached at the church for 12 years and has lived in the area for more than 20 years.

He said the church’s goal is to uplift the community. He said they allow several 12-step groups to meet at the church. 

Pastor Terry said his members and people who belong to the 12-step groups have become fearful, some are even hesitant to come to the church.  He said he was outraged when he saw a group of people shooting a music video on top of the roof of an apartment building across the street from the church. 

He said the groups often block the driveway of the place of worship. The pastor believes the groups are affiliated with gangs.

”You’ve got cars running through here burning rubber, spinning out, doing all of that, people in the street selling candy, ice cream and whatever else that they have to sell,” he said.

FOX13 reached out to the Memphis Police Department.  Our contact placed a call to the precinct which covers the area where the church is located. 

We were told officers are actively working on a plan to address the challenges the church is facing.

”We’re just trying to get to a place where we can conduct a ministry that’s going to help some folks,” said Pastor Terry.