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Ferguson, Missouri Tragedy Spurs Forums to Strengthen Trust Between Local Residents and Police Officers
Contact: Brianna Smallwood, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, 732-828-2009

SOMERSET, N.J., Aug. 19, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG), announced a series of forums are being coordinated to build trust between local residents and law enforcement agencies. Residents, law enforcement personnel, school administrators, health professionals and community leaders are invited to join in this effort.

According to Dr. Soaries, "The recent tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri involving the loss of Mike Brown's 18-year old life is yet another wake-up call. It's time to focus on increasing peace, unifying our communities and building trust with law enforcement agencies. Let's not wait for a shooting to start talking about our concerns."

Dr. Soaries will soon host the first Town Hall meeting to bring residents and police officers together. Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and raise issues. Officers from the Franklin Township Police Department will respond to concerns, describe their challenges, and share safety policies and procedures.

Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts said, "Strengthening the trust between residents and law enforcement officers continues to be a priority for the Franklin Township Police Department. We welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue where we can listen and respond to questions and comments from families in the community we serve."

This series is the first step towards organizing and building an infrastructure that protects and supports individuals in our community. Once the date is scheduled for the Franklin Township and Somerset Town Hall meeting, similar forums will be coordinated in surrounding communities.

For more information, contact Brianna Smallwood at 732-828-2009 or bsmallwood@fbcsomerset.com

About First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG)
Founded in 1937, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens is a vibrant community-focused, multi-cultural and historically African-American church rooted in Baptist doctrine and is located in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, NJ. The church's motto is "Faith in Action." First Baptist bears witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ for spiritual, educational, economic and community transformation. For more information on the church and its ministries, visit