Sr. Pastor Michael Bell, of Allen Chapel AME Church believes in serving his community. His service is evident in the many projects and events he and the church participate in. Last month he and a few parishioners from his church did a “walk through” of the Woodland Terrace public housing development, located in the heart of the Ward 8 Southeast community. The development is located off of Anger Place, right next to the church. Bell said his church did the walk through in response to the rise of crime in the development over the past month. Many senior homes had been the target of burglaries and Bell and his church did not want the community to think these crimes went unnoticed. After all, Bell says that’s what his church is about, responding to the community in need; and what better way to serve the community living right next to their church.
Members of the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) were also present to do the walk through with Pastor Bell and members of Allen Chapel. Commissioner M. Bernadette Tolson attended and said she thinks its good for the church to do this and was happy to participate. She said this allows the Housing Authority to understand “how we can make things better” in the community, although she said that the walk through is just a starting point. Commissioner Aquarius Vann- Ghasri said that she participates in many walk through’s around the city because it is important for DCHA to “identify specific community issues and measure past mistakes” so they can create a workable solution for the future. She said by working with the resident council of Woodland, her office is able to help provide resources with grassroots and interfaith based resources that will empower the community.
Further Pastor Bell emphasized how important this is to his church. He said his church is committed to outreach and “you never know, someone may decide to join our church because of this walk through. People need to know that the church cares. There are so many challenges people face everyday and we want to help people get their lives on track in whatever way possible.” He said he has seen the fruit of this labor of serving the Woodland community. “People have turned their lives around” in this community because of the church’s outreach efforts.
Woodland’s Property Manager, Marilyn Johnson, said, “This is so good because of the violence that has recently taken place. All of the people who are out tonight can take back this positive news to those who didn’t come.”
His church not only serves the Woodland community, but they are embarking on a new project that will serve the greater Ward 8 community, a soon to be developed Alabama Avenue Senior Housing Project. This development will run along Alabama Avenue across from Stanton Elementary. Allen Chapel also has a feeding program that gives out free produce in the parking lot of their church, along with and the Vision of Victory Child Development Center.
To find out more about the church and the programs they offer please visit www.acamec.org