by Rev. Dr. Edward Morris, Sr.
Parkway Gardens Christian Church on Chicago’s south side has had connection with the Parkway Garden Homes and Woodlawn community since 1957. The church was planted in the community through the efforts of the City of Chicago, the residents of the Parkway Gardens Co-Op Homes and the Council of Churches. Over the years through gentrification and economic change the community transitioned from a vibrant middle class African-American community to an economically, educationally and socially depressed community.
A couple of years ago one of Chicago’s major newspapers ran an article describing our community as one of the most dangerous blocks in the city. Through the efforts of our partnering with the 3rd District Police and Clergy Committee to which our lead pastor Rev. Dr. Edward J, Morris Sr. belongs, we set out to change the image and relationship between our community and the police department.
We participate in monthly Community Walks, Resource fairs, Rides against violence and other relationship building strategies formulated in partnership with the community clergy and the police department. During their community roll calls we meet with the officers and other stakeholders in the community to pray for the police. The police sponsor and participate in many of our community focused outreaches such as our Annual Back to School rally, Curfew walks, Y.A.S (Young Adult Servants) Radio Broadcasts discussion groups. We believe that honest relationship building is the avenue to changing the perception of both communities bring about healing and lasting positive relationship between the two.