Sunday, January 25, 2009
Down Payment on a Dream
What an incredible week the past week has been. A week ago I attended the 24th Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Service at Plymouth Congregational Church. The service is co-hosted by Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County. Each year it is a powerful service that brings together members of the larger Christian Community of the area as well as members of other faiths.
This year was special. How do you not get excited about reflecting on the Dream of MLK two days before the first African-American President of the United States is sworn in? The many speakers kept it in perspective. Was the Inauguration a big event? Of curse, it was huge. Did that mean the struggles for equality in America were over? Of course not, this was viewed as "a down payment on Martin’s dream.”
The key speaker was the Rev. Vernon Graham. He had served for as the executive Director of the Associated Churches for 20 years. He increased membership, increased food pantries and spoke “truth to power” consistently over those two decades. He had initially tried to get out of speaking this year because he thought the honor should go to an African-American. Consistent with MLK’s dream the ministers of the Black churches would have none of this. Rev. Graham had made too many contributions, had been an ally for too many years. He was to be judged “by the content of his character and not the color of his skin”.
It was a wonderful night. The church was filled with folks who looked like America and not just a part of America. The music was wonderful and showcased the talent of a very talent-rich community. After the last speaker and the last prayer we ended by holding hands and singing the Black National Anthem or “Life Every Voice” followed by “We Shall Overcome.” It was the beginning of an eventful week.
LIFT EVERY VOICE: Obama Inauguration Tribute