Knoxville faith leaders pray for Austin-East faculty, students before their return to the building


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Several faith leaders joined together Tuesday to pray for the East Knoxville and Austin-East community.

It’s been a week since the fatal shooting of Anthony Thompson Jr. Since then, there have been several press conferences, protests and prayer meetings.

Austin-East students are scheduled to return to in-person classes this week.

Like last week’s service at Overcoming Believers Church, the focus of this one was to pray for students and faculty at Austin-East and the surrounding community.

It was held at Payne Avenue Baptist Church. One by one, pastors, ministers and other religious leaders got up and said a prayer. People from all over Knoxville were in attendance.

Valerie Coleman came from West Knoxville. She says the recent tragedies plaguing the East Knoxville community should alarm people in other parts of the city as well.

“It could happen to anyone. It could happen in your school, my West High School,” Coleman said.

Pastor Richard Brown says faith leaders will continue to come together in prayer every week for “however long the spirit leads them.” The next prayer meeting will be Tuesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. It will be hosted by Children of God Church in Knoxville.

The Thompson family will hold a funeral service on Thursday, April 22 at the Overcoming Believers Church. A public walkthrough is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Social distancing and face coverings are required.

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