Churches Build Trust

From the Diocese of Southern Virginia’s news blog

Residents in Virginia Beach’s Lake Edward and Campus East neighborhoods are building trusting relationships with city police thanks to the work of Western Bayside Churches United (WBCU) — an alliance of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, Enoch Baptist Church, and Heritage United Methodist Church.

The three churches came together in 2010 with a simple mission — to make their neighborhood a better place to live. The Western Bayside area of Virginia Beach is a community in which many residents are struggling day to day and that has had one of the higher crime rates in the city. But that’s quickly changing.

In August of 2014, WBCU teamed up with officers of Virginia Beach’s third precinct in the Stop the Violence project. “One of the resident’s sons was murdered. Nobody knew anything even though there was a crowd in the yard when it happened. They were afraid to talk to the police,” explains Pastor Michael Daniels of Enoch Baptist Church. “She asked the church what we could do to help.”

The first step was a community meeting with the police, hosted by WBCU. “We wanted to talk about what the community could do, how we can partner with the precinct,” said the Rev. Wendy Wilkinson, rector of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church. “We have to take responsibility for our community.”

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