For fifty-one days in 2017, a neighborhood in Tampa, Florida—Seminole Heights—was terrorized by a serial killer. Benjamin was shot while waiting for a bus, Monica while walking to meet a friend, Anthony while walking home from packing hurricane relief supplies, and Reginald on his way to volunteer at his church to feed the homeless.
Police were baffled by his ability to escape, businesses struggled to stay open, residents stopped walking the streets at night, and Seminole Heights United Methodist Church was called upon to serve a neighborhood in fear.
Their campus housed efforts to support heroic police officers; their members and friends supported mourning family members; and late, late into the night on day fifty-one, their church bells pierced the darkness to announce when it was once again safe to come outside.
For anyone who thinks people don’t need churches in their neighborhoods anymore, the story of Seminole Heights invites you to think again.