King’s followers ‘still climbing’
Though there was no featured speaker, and the ever-present Down by the Wayside Choir from Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville was unable to attend the 29th annual ecumenical Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Sunday afternoon, the absences failed to have much of an effect on the event, which took place this year at Lincoln Hills Christian Church in Corydon.
Attendees found Duane Nathaniel’s presentation of King’s famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, done mostly by memory, just as stirring and impressive this year as it was last year when he performed it for the first time at the local MLK service.
‘It took me right back to Washington, D.C., in 1963, when my father took me to see that speech,’ one of the event’s organizers, Jewel Brown, said.
Brown noted that 2014 saw race relations struggle, with whites and blacks pointing fingers as to who was to blame for a variety of social issues that included a white police officer shooting an unarmed black teenager near St. Louis and blacks rioting in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., in response to a grand jury’s acquittal of the officer.
The theme of this year’s service was ‘Still Climbing to the Mountaintop.’
‘Dr. King didn’t die for that,’ Brown said. ‘There was blame in a lot of places, but I think it starts at home. Kids need to know the difference between right and wrong, and it’s up to the parents to teach that. If kids don’t do wrong, they don’t get in those situations.’
The invocation was given by LHCC Senior Pastor Webster (Webby) Oglesby, and Pastor Jerry Robinson, the former pastor at St. Paul AME Church in Corydon, read Colossians 3:12-17.
Filling the spot on the agenda for Down by the Wayside Choir was the quartet Another Blessing from Irvington, Ky., which found out just a couple of days before that it would be performing. An added bonus for this year was the addition of Jaelyn Perks, 15, daughter of Another Blessing’s Chris Perks.
Trish Beddoe resurrected a poem she wrote about the history of the ecumenical service. Also, Corydon Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Corydon Presbyterian Church and Corydon United Methodist Church had a combined choir and used hand bells for several musical selections, and the praise and worship team from LHCC performed three songs.
The Rev. Robert Watkins of St. Paul AME Church closed the ceremonies by playing a song on the grand piano before the more than 120 people in attendance held hands as Watkins launched into ‘We Shall Overcome,’ the traditional finale.