Parishioners and protesters are teaming up at Trinity Episcopal Church in preparation for NATO this month. It's the closest congregation to McCormick place - home to the NATO summit.
The church has opened its doors to protesters inviting them to camp out on its lawn during the NATO. A town hall meeting to discuss the logistics took place Thursday night - meanwhile at another meeting Thursday night, community leaders and security experts are mapping out a blueprint to keep the city safe.
According to Deputy Chief Dana Alexander with the Chicago Police Department, "I've never seen my department more prepared for an event. We've been preparing for this for almost a full year. Name every alphabet, the FBI, all other agencies, we're all working hand in hand, this is a joint mission, so we're going to attack this in that fashion."
Dozens at the DuSable Museum for African American History packed the auditorium.
"There will be a barricade around the McCormick footprint to deal with all of the delegation that is coming in and any of the protesters that may want to express their first amendment rights," said Charles Bethea who attended the meeting. Bethea is the CEO of the DuSable Museum for African American History.
The community briefing hosted by the NATO Host Committee had representatives from the Chicago Police Department along with contracted security firms who say the focus during NATO will be on anyone engaging in criminal activity and protesters who break away from organized protests.
Many who came, came with questions that remain unanswered.
"I don't know if any of my colleagues have received information as it relates to schools in that area... I know I've been inquiring," said an Assistant Principal of the Chicago High School for the Arts.
According to Tom Kasza, a security expert at Hillard & Heintze, "The Secret Service will make an announcement in the coming days outlining the specifics of the venue, primarily McCormick Place... Soldier Field, you're likely to see a fence around that entire area for a block or two. There are no residents being asked to leave their building... It's not recommended by the city, police or Secret Service."
Protesters will also have a home come NATO.
A town hall meeting at Trinity Episcopal Church just blocks away from McCormick Place welcomed protesters.
The church is allowing groups to camp on their lawn during the NATO summit.
According to John Marshall, "One of the things that really gets to us is service, when we were approached by this by NATO and G8 protesters we kind of felt that we had to embrace it with open arms because that's the way we see it... Trinity sees welcoming the campers as serving Christ as the hungry, sick, etc."
Commuters could find themselves grid locked - face to face with full street closures as 60 motorcades carrying world leaders make its way from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to McCormick Place.
As of right now there are only three groups/ protesters with permits to conduct parades: The National Nurses United, CHANG8 and Iraq Veterans Against War.