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Local faith leaders call for unity and love in wake of police shootings

Posted at 9:54 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 23:21:14-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Faith leaders in Richmond are asking the community to come together this weekend and work to bring peace among our citizens and police officers in the wake of Thursday's Dallas police shooting.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Bon Air put the words “Pray to End the Violence Support Our Police” on a sign outside the church Friday.

“You can’t solve violence with more violence, only love can solve violence, only love can solve hate,” St. Michael's Rector Jeunee Godsey said, citing a famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote.

End violence sign

Thursday night a gunman targeting police officers opened fire in downtown Dallas, killing five, and injuring seven more, during a protest against police violence.

The sniper fired on officers from two locations, according to authorities.

Godsey said Sunday’s sermon about the Good Samaritan who stopped to help someone from a disliked group will be heard at many churches this weekend in the wake of so much violence.

“Violence happens a lot when we don’t know each other and we don’t understand each other, and we don’t understand situations, and we look from afar,” Godsey said.

Across town in Mechanicsville, Pastor Fred Wyatt with Speaking Spirit Ministries already sent out a message to his congregation to address the violence.

Wyatt

Fred Wyatt

“We have to love one another, we must unify, meaning regardless of color, regardless of race, we need to be unified in this country,” Wyatt said.

On Sunday, he said teens in his congregation will be pulled aside to talk about how to interact with police officers.

“People are afraid, people are afraid to drive, they’re afraid to get stopped, they’re afraid when they’re just seeing police,” Wyatt said.

Fear that Wyatt said can only be eliminated through unification.

“We need to come together to bring understanding so the fear is removed, so we don’t see situations like we’re seeing across the country,” Wyatt said.