The second annual Unite Williamson Prayer Breakfast is set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park in Franklin.
The theme of this year's event is “Rooted in Love,” and will feature Rev. Eric Sheldon Charles Manning, who was assigned as senior pastor to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2016. He was responsible for leading the congregation on a long journey of healing and recovery.
Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore founded Unite Williamson not in his official capacity as mayor, but as a resident of the Williamson County community after witnessing the response of a diverse, faith-based community following the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The mass shooting took nine lives and sent shockwaves across the country. As Americans wrestled with the senselessness of the violence and divides it demonstrated, leaders like Moore and Dr. Kenneth Hill resolved to proactively bring people together. The result was the Unite Williamson Prayer Breakfast, an inter-faith event that invited citizens from all faiths, creeds and nationalities to join in common understanding.
“We held a prayer vigil shortly after the Charleston shooting, and Dr. Moore came to be with us," Hill said. "We were all grappling with the tragedy and what we could do to prevent this from happening in our community, and to be prepared if something terrible did occur here.
"[Moore] is our mayor, but more importantly, he is a citizen who believed there was great value in getting together with our brothers and sisters of all faiths – Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians of all stripes and those who are still seeking – to find the common ground we believed existed. That culminated in a beautiful event last year, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and gave us the inspiration to make it even larger this fall."
Moore remembers the response of a diverse faith-based community after the Charleston tragedy.
“In the wake of that horrific event, people of all faiths came to the support of the church and the surrounding community,” he said. “Through Unite Williamson, we hope to strengthen our community by creating a formal connection through prayer and commitment to bring hope and unity in a time of great need, should it arise.
“I believe that across all faiths there is a shared compassion that calls us to give of ourselves for the good of others. Our hope is that those who attend this event will take the hope, excitement and commitment to serve our county back to their places of worship and surrounding communities.”
The Prayer Breakfast costs $5 to attend. Go to https://www.unitewilliamson.com/for more information.
Eastern Flank Battlefield Park is located in Franklin at 1368 Eastern Flank Circle .