The life and legacy of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. was remembered during the Second Christian Church’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration service held Sunday, January 15 in Vandalia.
Members from several Vandalia area churches attended the event and sang several spiritual songs while listening to sermons and a history of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The guest speaker for this year’s celebration was Rev. Horrace Walters of New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church in Louisiana, Mo.
Rev. Walters led the congregation in singing “I Need Thee Every Hour.”
In his message, he made a comparison between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Joseph of the Bible in the Book of Genesis.
“Both of these men were inspired by God,” he said.
He said both men had a dream and they both loved people.
Rev. Walters added that Joseph learned how to take care of the people of Egypt by interpreting Pharaoh’s dream in preparation of a seven year famine.
Likewise, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped people protest in a nonviolent manner and Rev. Walters added “we’re still working on that today; trying to get it right.”
“Both of these men were courageous;…they just did what God had told them to do,” Rev. Walters said. “And if we can come together right here, we will make a great difference in this world.”
Rev. Walters followed by reading Genesis 37:2-11 before reading a brief biography of the late civil rights leader. He also read the entire “I Have a Dream” speech given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.
He concluded by leading the congregation in singing a verse called “Free At Last.”
Second Christian Church’s Rev. Stanley Beecham said everyone can learn something from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who made Jesus Christ No. 1 in his life.
“Martin Luther King was a man who demonstrated what it will be like to let God rule in your life,” Beecham said. “…We know he wasn’t a perfect man but he did show us some things when he set out to do the things that he did do, he did it with a diligence and a devotion…Martin Luther King was not just for black and just for white, he was for the oppressed and there was oppressed people all over…”
Rev. Beecham also shared concerns with the commercialization of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and said peo-ple should instead focus on making a difference with one person, reflect on God’s blessings, and noted the importance of breaking down church denominational barriers as well as racial barriers.
Rev. Beecham added that while many people no longer have shackles on their hands and feet, they still have shackles on their minds.
“There are no slaves in Christ Jesus, there are no masters in Christ Jesus,” he said. “We have but one master and that’s God. We all come under the umbrella of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; we’re all free…The only people who are enslaved are those people who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.”
Rev. Beecham followed by challenging those in attendance to read the book of Philippians in the Bible before opening the altar with an invitation.
The event’s emcee was Lillian Johnson and the opening song selection was “Lift Every Voice.”
Dolly Salmon led those in attendance with an opening prayer followed by Ronnie Green’s scripture reading and a welcome from Opal Greene.
Charles Overton played his saxophone on one song and played the piano on a second before an offering was taken by William Wheeler and Roger Chapman.
Charles Shelton, of Maryland St. Baptist Church in Louisiana, Mo. read a poem.
Members from Faith Tabernacle Church of Vandalia and members from the New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church of Louisiana both performed a selection of spiritual songs.
The final song of praise “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” was performed before the messages, announcements, and benediction. Refreshments were served in the Fellowship Hall following the program.