Residents and members of dozens of Cherokee County’s churches will be gathered at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater for one large worship event Sunday.

Power in Unity is hosted by the Concerned Clergy of Cherokee County, or C4, with more than 30 local churches and several nonprofit organizations participating to unite the county’s Christian community.

C4 was founded by ministerial leaders after the shooting in Charleston that killed nine black members of Emanuel AME Church, said the Rev. Fred Goodwin, pastor at Church of the Messiah in Canton.

“We realized a lot of churches — white, black, Hispanic — were not communicating with each other very effectively. So we decided to begin networking together, to share our common interests and desires to care for the poor and need and to live lives of service here in Cherokee,” he said.

The clergy have held indoor combined events before, but this is the first to be held outdoors. Organizers are planning for about 7,000 people to attend.

The gathering will begin around 4 p.m. with food trucks and fun activities for families including bounce houses, followed by various praise and worship bands at 5 p.m. The full service, which includes a large combined band and a 100-voice choir, begins at 6 p.m. Two guest speakers are scheduled: Allen Malloy, the pastor at New Life Church in Canton, and Pastor J.J. Washington of First Baptist Woodstock.

“It will be a festival and worship event of celebration and letting people know we’re all here to serve, and to serve together for the cause of Christ. That’s where we have the power in unity,” Goodwin said. “Our perspective is, there are many forces in the world that seek to divide us, whether it’s political issues, race, sex or economic standing, and the one place where we find our unity is Christ Jesus. Once we have that unity, we can celebrate our differences. They no longer need to divide us.”

During the event, various nonprofits including Bethesda Community Clinic, Cherokee Family Violence Center, Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, MUST Ministries and Papa’s Pantry will be available to offer assistance to anyone in need or to help connect those who want to get involved. Tables for the nonprofits are scheduled to be set up until the full service starts.

Goodwin said that he hopes to have another large outdoor event next year, as well as more indoor gatherings in the next few months. He’s already received inquiries about the next Power in Unity.

“As churches are working together for this event, it’s quite extraordinary,” he said. “I’ve been in ministry for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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