In times of social and political unrest the nation has experienced whereby the authority of police officers and other public servants are often scrutinized, one Lockport church set out to promote unity.
Christ Vision Community Church in Lockport hosted a service Sunday, Jan. 7, to recognize Lockport’s police officers and other public servants.
The program was meant to coincide with National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, which was Tuesday, Jan. 9.
“I believe that God wants the community and the police unified, and this is a step towards that,” Senior Pastor Ernest Jones said.
In its second year, the program brought in a number of people. Those on hand for the service included Mayor Steve Streit, Alderwoman Joanne Bartelsen, members of Christ Vision Community Church and several Lockport police officers.
Jones welcomed everyone, and Police Chaplain Steve Bednarick went on to lead the crowd in prayer to begin the service.
Streit shared some remarks in referencing Bible scripture and encouraged people to continue to have faith and hope that all is possible, even as there are enemies who do not want to see others succeed.
“I want to thank our chaplains who are part of the police department withstanding the gap for us, and I want to thank the officers for withstanding the gap, too, and just protecting us,” he told the crowd. “We thank you for that. Without it, [we’re] hopeless, but with it, we can do all things.”
Members of the crowd listened on and reacted to the message shared by Streit calling out “Amen.”
Jones said the program has a powerful way of making a difference.
“It’s one place where the community and the police can come together in fellowship and get to know one another under God, and I believe if we really get to know each other policing the community, everything runs smoothly,” he said.
Goodie bags filled with candy were distributed to members of the Lockport Police Department. One by one, they formed a line at the front of the sanctuary to accept this offering.
Following that, a praise band performed several songs during the service.
Jones said he enjoyed seeing public servants on hand for the program.
“They have really embraced us,” he said. “The Chief [of Police] is full of love, the mayor is a man of faith and full of love. It just touched my heart to have them working together.”
Police Chief Terry Lemming took a moment to share a few words, and Jones went on to deliver a sermon focused on promoting unity.
“I believe that this is the time where all people, all religions need to come together,” Jones said. “It’s a time when we should stop looking at the differences and come together under Christ Jesus.”