Between 750 and 1,000 residents from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds are expected to attend a joint worship service in Rochester Sunday.
The ROC Service and picnic will bring together five congregations for an annual gathering that has been held for the past decade, but faith leaders say there is a special meaning behind this year's event.
Vince DiPaola, pastor of Lakeshore Community Church, says the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville proves more than ever the need to unite people of all faiths.
"I don't know all of the people who were involved in Charlottesville, but certainly when some of them claim to be Nazis or Aryans or white supremacists, it shakes us all to the core."
Pastor DiPaolo says the event is more about embracing unity than it is a protest.
"If we can advance the positive...sometimes we just kind of spend time in the 'ain't in awful, ain't it awful, ain't it awful,' and there may be a place for that, but I want to say 'here's how it can be better,' and I believe the pastors of the other churches believe the same thing."
Two services are scheduled Sunday, August 27 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Lakeshore Community Church at 3651 Latta Road. The 11 a.m. service will be followed by a picnic at 12:30 p.m.
The services will include members of Ark of Jesus Ministries, Congregation Shema Yisrael, New Way Christian Faith Center, and Victorious Living Christian Life Center, but Pastor DiPaolo said anyone who is open to God is welcome to attend.
"I believe it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said the most segregated time of the week is Sunday at 11,” he said. “And and we just feel that's the exact opposite of what it should be; we feel the church should be modeling the way."