Pictured above: South Shore United Methodist Church holds a bi-weekly community prayer circle and peace vigil in front of the Walgreens, on the corner of 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard. This prayer circle occurred in May of 2017.
Edited by: Yolanda Y. Harris | April 30, 2018
Rev. Adonna Davis Reid is pastor of South Shore United Methodist Church, 7350 S. Jeffery Blvd. The church’s On the Table dinner last year inspired it to hold bi-weekly prayer circles and peace vigils to tackle negative behavior on a street corner in the local business district. A second-year On the Table host, Rev. Reid will continue to foster the conversation on community safety as it pertains to economic vitality this year.
Why did your church begin having prayer circles and peace vigils?
“We partnered with the 3rd District of the Chicago Police Department to engage in “positive loitering” at troubled corners throughout our district. The negative activity outside of Walgreens, on the corner of 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard, was a great concern for community residents and business management alike. So, we held a prayer circle and peace vigil last May, shortly after our On the Table dinner. We have continued ever since then to hold the vigils every other week, even throughout most of the winter.”
Pictured above: Rev. Adonna Davis Reid, 2018 On the Table host.
What are some issues you’d like to discuss at your table this year?
“We would like to hear from the community regarding the issues that were raised last year. We talked about community safety, gun violence, joblessness and underemployment, food insecurity, vagrancy and illegal activity, such as the selling of loose cigarettes and narcotics on one of the major business corridors in the area, which is along 71st Street. We also would like to know the perception of where we are now with respect to last year and where might we go from here together.”
Why are these issues important to you?
“A strong economic infrastructure and (sense of) community safety are critical to the stability of the community. These concerns are important to residents, police, and businesses. The church is committed to supporting the community to help achieve and sustain vitality and stability.”
What do you hope to accomplish through your table?
“We would like to explore other things we might do to build on the efforts already in place in the form of the prayer circles and peace vigils. We believe that we can achieve our collective goals by collaborating with others who share the same vision for a safer community that is characterized by strong and vital families, businesses, schools and churches.“
Did you learn anything from your experience as a host last year that will affect how you host your table this year?
“We kept contact information that will enable us to invite back those who attended last year. We would like to continue to develop relationships and partnerships that will lead to a sense of collaboration, with the church helping to galvanize efforts around the issues that are important to the community.“
What tips can you offer other hosts who are organizing tables?
“Strive for diversity. Our table conversation was enriched by the presence of a mix of voices — residents, both church members and others, and business owners.”
Pictured above: South Shore United Methodist Church and community residents at the church’s On the Table dinner in 2017.
Pictured above: South Shore United Methodist Church members promoting the church’s prayer circle and peace vigil in 2017.