Saturday December 29, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Community, political and religious leaders will gather Saturday to honor the Rev. Willard Durant for his work in the community and his church over many decades in Pittsfield.

Event coordinator Yvonne West said Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, which Durant served for many years as pastor, is sponsoring the event at the Salvation Army facility on West Street from 2 to 6 p.m.

"I am asking everyone to arrive at 2 p.m. so that we can all be there when Rev. Durant arrives at 3 p.m.," she said.

Included in the program, she said, will be several speakers, including former Mayor James M. Ruberto, church Pastor Walter Davis, the Rev. James Williamson, Jack Downing, Seth Carthon, Keiana West and Sister Nakeida Bethel-Smith.

The event also will include a luncheon with food supplied and prepared by Soldier On, where Durant serves as chaplain, and music provided by a number of performers. These include the choir from A.M.E. Zion Church, singers Cheryl Taliaferro, Sharron McClain, and Raymond and Richard Davis; dance by Sister Vanessa Slaughter, and a performance by Youth Alive Senior Step Team.

"We just wanted to show him our appreciation for what he has done for his community and church," West said of Durant.