METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) - On Sunday, July 17, three police officers in Baton Rouge were shot to death.
However, Joseph Benberry, pastor of the Mt. Horeb Church in Metropolis, Illinois was asking his congregation not to give in to hate.
Benberry and other members of the church dedicated Sunday's service to the Illinois State Police, the Massac County Sheriff's Department and Metropolis police officers.
The service occurred at the same time as the shooting in Baton Rouge, La., which resulted in the deaths of three law enforcement officers.
That shooting followed national unrest in response to recent officer-involved shootings.
"What someone does somewhere else does not make everybody else the same way," Benberry said. "Today, I've seen many things that say blue lives matter… and they do. Black lives matter, and really, all lives matter. We have to, as a people, intentionally not focus on hate but focus on bridging the gap that we have between us or the differences in a peaceful way and especially protecting those that protect us."
Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse spoke to the congregation on Sunday morning in what he said was an attempt to build trust with members of the congregation and the community.
"I firmly believe that it is important to establish relationships and trust before some type of major incident happens here," Masse said. "That could ruin this community. And that's the last thing I want to see."
The following day, a Metropolis family delivered lunch and a cake to the police station to show their appreciation of the officers.
Chief Masse said small towns are usually more able than big cities to get out and do community outreach programs due to a lighter workload.
"If anything, we can be the model of what a tight knit community really means," Masse said. "When mom says, 'If you don't eat your veggies, I'm gonna have that cop arrest you'… No, we're not. You know, if they're lost or frightened, who are you going to call? Maybe we cans tart turning that attitude around."