Unity service planned for Sunday in Powhatan

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - Powhatan religious leaders hope to relieve tension in the county by holding a unity service on Sunday.

The Powhatan Pastors Association is hosting the service at 6 p.m. at the high school. The hope is to bring peace to a community that many believe was divided when the involuntary manslaughter verdicts came down in the trial of Ethan and Joey Parrish.

Some residents think it's exactly what's needed. Duncan Buchanan has lived long enough in Powhatan to get a good sense of the community. Right now, he says it's in a lot of pain.

"It'll take a while you know but we will heal," said Buchanan.

That's the hope of several Powhatan pastors and other religious leaders. The involuntary manslaughter verdicts in the Ethan and Joey Parrish trial sparked charges of racism and protests.

A week later, KKK newsletters showed up. They may not have been connected to the trial, but some believe they made matters worse.

"The only way we're going to get justice and get things changed in this community is if we come together all the people of Powhatan come together as one," said Pastor Gregory Beechaum of Little Zion Baptist Church.

Sunday's hour long service will include spiritual leaders from different denominations to help unite and heal the community, a process that may take longer for some.

"There will still be protests because of the injustice," said Pastor Beechaum.

Bennett Davis, one of two people accused of helping the Parrish's hide after Tahliek Taliaferro's shooting death, hopes the community can work on forgiveness.

"One person's already been lost it's a tragedy why prolong it," said Davis.

Buchanan says only time will tell.

"We've only got one God and they'll all get together and they'll feel better," said Buchanan.

The unity service will  feature prayers, a choir and several speakers.

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