* Photo by Kageaki Smith. Final farewells: There was a large police presence as mourners paid their last respects to Shane ‘Amos’ Minors at Bethel A.M.E. Church yesterday afternoon. The 30-year-old’s body was found slumped at the entrance to his Pembroke home in the early hours of Thursday morning. He was the fourth young man to be shot dead in Bermuda since May.
* Photo by Kageaki Smith. Final farewells: There was a large police presence as mourners paid their last respects to Shane ‘Amos’ Minors at Bethel A.M.E. Church yesterday afternoon. The 30-year-old’s body was found slumped at the entrance to his Pembroke home in the early hours of Thursday morning. He was the fourth young man to be shot dead in Bermuda since May.
Churches are trying to "build bridges" among people who are too scared to speak out to the police.

Leaders from all denominations are working together to encourage members of the community to "open up about what they know."

They feel they are acting as the "go between" to try to lessen the disconnect between the community and the police.

Nicholas Dill, priest in charge at St John's in Pembroke, said they were reaching out to the community "the best way they could".

He has been heavily involved in meetings with church leaders, police officers and those closely linked to gangs. He believes if everyone unites "as a tight-knit community" it will prevent further violence.

He said: "We are reaching out to the community and it's all about building up a trust and taking things to a new level.

"These people are living in fear, they have things to say but may not want to tell the police. As churches we have to get the message out that we are there for them and we will listen.

"We're acting as a bridge, as well as a haven where people can come to seek refuge."

Rev. Dill admitted it put church leaders in a "difficult position" as they always had to "respect the notion of confession". But he said that they always encouraged those with information to go to the police or to call the anonymous Crime Stoppers phone line.

Rev. Dill said churches were working with different organizations such as sports clubs and community groups to create an "on-going presence."

He said: "we know we have a battle on our hands" but they have already seen success with several events.

The churches organized a prayer vigil at the murder scene of Kumi Harford and a group walk through Middle Town.

They continue to knock on doors in the St. Monica's area to let people know there was "someone there for them."

They also hand out prayer cards where people can write down suggestions for prayers and work with elderly organizations such as Age Concern to ensure that seniors feel safe in their own homes.

Rev. Dill said people were very appreciative to see local churches having a visible presence in the community: "These people are scared, they are fearing the worst.

"There is obviously a great concern about what is going to happen next. People don't know what to do or how to deal with the issues they have. This makes people feel isolated and alone, so they are glad to see us, glad that we are there."

Rev. Dill believes it's important to look at the wider issues behind the recent spate in violence, such as the break up of families and a loss in people's sense of belonging.

He added that Bermuda's rise in shootings would "very much be a part" of the "peace on earth" message at Christmas services across the island.

The churches are also coming together to organize a Community Day in the St. Monica's area on Saturday, January 16.