Prayer Walks Strengthen Faith in Policing
Police officers joined faith leaders in community Prayer Walks to strengthen ties between the faith community, police and larger community as a whole.
Walks were held in Malvern, Regent Park and Flemingdon Park on May 31.
Toronto Police Service Acting Chief Rob Johnson, Superintendent Kim O’Toole and 55 Division Neighbourhood Community Officers (NCOs) joined faith leaders in Flemingdon.
The Canadian Black Clergies & Allies (CBCA), led by Pastor Wendell Gibbs, organized the event.
“We are here to support the CBCA and also show the community we are aligned with the pastors to do whatever is possible to connect with the community in different ways that we have traditionally done in the past,” said Deputy Chief Johnson.
The CBCA emerged in 2020 in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minnesota.
“We are trying to show that the faith community and law enforcement are building bridges of healing and reconciliation against the angst of racism and divide that is afflicting communities,” said Gibbs, who is a TPS Chaplain. “We recognize there are challenges on both sides, but we are working to alleviate the tensions and show communities we care about them.”
Reverend Curtis Peters of the Christian and Missionary Alliance took part in the Prayer Walk.
“We want to show support for the police and the great work they are doing to serve and protect,” he said. “We desire for the church to be a blessing wherever we are.”
On the walk in Flemingdon Park, the church leaders and police interacted residents and talked about their own partnership.
“In a larger context, the aim is to get the faith community and police divisions in their community to have greater partnerships and relationships,” noted Gibbs.
Last February, Gibbs and Johnson played vital roles in organizing the CBCA Prayer Breakfast in Scarborough.