KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Word of Life Ministries partners with Obayana Ajanaku -Drums UP Guns Down to host a Unity in the Community Fall Festival on Saturday.
Dozens of people enjoyed the event that brought the East Knoxville community together.
Word of Life Ministries Senior Pastor, Kevin Perry, knows just how hard this year has been for those living in East Knoxville,
“I served as the Chaplain for KPD, 12 years as their chaplain. So most of the time I’m on the scene for those tragedies,” he said. “I do the death notifications, I’ve been a part of the services for the young people that’s been killed, I’m an AE alum, and I’ve probably attended or preached at 30 funerals this year. It’s important to see the community come together and loving one another.”
Just this year, Austin East High School has had six student deaths.
“We should be selecting colleges, but we’ve been picking out caskets,” said Pastor Perry.
That’s why Perry reached out to his congregation to see how their church could be a light in the community during dark times.
“There’s been a lot of violence in this community lately and so we just want to show up and get everybody together and spread the word of God and just love everybody,” said Word of Life Ministries member Mandi McEntee.
Their church provided a safe place and fun event for all ages during their Unity in the Community Fall Festival.
Youth Pastor Nicolsha Scott said, “Bishop gave a vision of unity in the community and I said what better way to do it than a fall festival. It brings everybody out, it’s a good atmosphere, it’s good vibes.”
Pastor Perry added, “we have the bounce house, we have a funnel cake machine, we have Hamburger Hill, which is one of our vendors. We have face painting and games.”
It’s a message of unity they’re hoping will start at their church and reach the younger generations within the community.
“We are the future,” said Nicolsha Scott. “So we have to be the change that we want to see, and I think tonight we showed that we want change and I’m just happy the word of life ministries and Pastor Perry had the heart and the vision and the capacity to put something on for our community.”
Pastor Kevin Perry said they’re already planning more events to continue to bring their community together in a positive way.