Dyersburg churches become one, host worship

DYERSBURG, Tenn. — An event aims for unity in the community.

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Several churches came together for a non-denominational service for their town. It all started with a conversation between two men.

“Given the George Floyd thing and everything that was going on in our country, we wanted to do something to strengthen our community,” said organizer Dr. Colonel James Leviticus.

“There’s so much going on that’s negative in our world, and I asked him, ‘What can I do as a white man? What do you want to see from me?'” said organizer Lyle Willis.

Leviticus and Willis said they met with community leaders and others after their conversation and prayer on what to do in the face of current events.

“What we came to see is that it’s really just a lack of Jesus,” Willis said.

They rallied several churches around Dyersburg to hold a unified worship service at the amphitheater at the Dyer County Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon.

The service featured music and speakers from around the community.

“I thought that it was important to speak about unity and how love can affect your life,” said Three Oaks Middle School student and speaker Hannah Pankey.

All echoing a similar message.

“Where Paul tells us that — in the Christian community — there’s no longer no Jew, no Greek, slave, nor free male and female, because we’re all one in Christ Jesus,” said Dyersburg First United Methodist Church senior pastor Mary Beth Bernheisel.

“Let’s come together, let’s do this thing together and we can reach this community,” said pastor Zach Bennard.

“Above all, love one another, for love covers a multitude of sins,” Pankey said.

One pastor said he hopes the community takes away the message of unity.

“We would see people, regardless of their differences, we can do life together, we can walk together, and we can make an impact,” Bennard said.

“We’re commanded to do so, love thy neighbor. It doesn’t dictate color of skin when it says that,” Willis said.

Organizers say if you want to see change, then to take part and be the change.

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