SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Lateef Johnson-Kinsey, Senior Pastor at Well of Hope Church on Syracuse’s Southside, said, “When you come inside these walls we want people to feel safe here.”
He is also a chaplain in the Syracuse Police Department and a member of the Trauma Response Team. So when violence happens, he provides support. “I actually either go to the scene or to the hospital and also connect with the Trauma Response Team to open our church, this room,” he explained.
That room is important for loved ones. There’s space for them to talk with the team and depending on their circumstances, learn about resources.
“I believe in our community, we need that safe place, safe space where families can come together,” Johnson-Kinsey explained, “Sometimes the neighborhood’s not safe. You have people that witnessed a shooting two houses down. It’s traumatic to even be back at your house.”
The team not only provides support in the moments after the traumatic experience, but they work with the families long term.
“It’s one thing to be there the night of. But the weeks and months after, that’s where we come in, where we can be with the family, the babies that have seen these traumatic events happen. Thirteen, fourteen-year-olds shouldn’t be seeing their friends get stabbed or being shot. We want to be there for the long run, the journey of healing so that’s where we come in.”Lateef Johnson-Kinsey
That’s why regardless of the day or hour this space is open here at Well of Hope Church.
Pastor Johnson-Kinsey is also working on developing activities for youth in the community to get involved in and he is working with the Police Athletic League which is expected to begin next month in Syracuse.