TROY — The First United Methodist Church of Troy hosted remembrance day events in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.
Around 80 people gathered within the church’s sanctuary following a commemorative unity march from Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Co.
Mayor Robin Oda presented a proclamation, declaring Monday as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the city of Troy, and Michael Cunningham, minister of music for the Richards Chapel United Methodist Church of Troy, provided the music throughout the ceremony.
The Rev. Dr. Rockney Carter provided the event’s keynote address. Carter currently serves as the senior pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Dayton.
“We’re here for such an occasion that we all are going to get really excited as we look back on the life and the legacy, as we’ve come to celebrate both the life and the legacy, of a great man,” Carter said. “This preacher, this pastor, this teacher, this husband, this father; we’ve come to celebrate the sacrifices he made.
“What a blessing he continues to be as he continues to inspire and to encourage another generation of people to keep up the good fight of faith, to keep pushing toward equality, to continue to model and exemplify an enduring love of God, a love of self, and a love of neighbor,” Carter continued. “We salute you this morning, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”
Carter’s speech also centered around the idea, “Wake up, then stand up.” He noted the significance of paying attention to what’s going on throughout your community and nation, and to stand up and speak out when necessary.
“I believe Martin Luther King got encouraged by indifference, (and) from the situations that looked bad. I believe (he) got empowered and anointed from God when it looked the worst,” Carter said. “So, as we wake up and stand up, we’ve got to understand that sometimes you have to speak up.”
Carter noted that in celebration of King’s life, it is important not to focus completely on the man, but on the legacy and the dream he left behind. The significance, Carter said, lies within the duty of us all to create a more just world, as King had envisioned.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that his death, that his dying on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel is not in vain; that his death, as tragic as it was, is not the end of our story,” Carter said. “His death is not the end of his dream.”
Following Carter’s speech, Jewel McCoy, on behalf of her late husband, presented the Pastor Wesley McCoy Sr. Community Service Award to Elizabeth Stafford. Beginning last year, this award will continue to be distributed annually to honor an outstanding resident who has impacted the community.
Troy Christian Elementary School principal Amy Long introduced members of the Father’s House Missionary Baptist Youth Ministry from Charleston, W.Va., along with the Rev. Dr. Lloyd Hill. The youth ministry’s dance company performed before the congregation.
Attendees also heard from the Rev. Ty Williams of Troy First United Methodist Church, Lincoln Community Center director Shane Carter, and Gospel Community Church pastor Jason Bradshaw.
Pastor Kima Cunningham, of the MLK Planning Team, announced a music and arts contest being held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“To help our young people understand more about Dr. Martin Luther King than ‘I Have a Dream,’ we want them to become a part of the living legacy of this dream that envisions a better world for all,” Cunningham said. “It was more than a dream; it is a call for all to be a part of a beloved community, where love is at the core.”
Middle school and high school students are encouraged to submit songs, poems, raps and/or spoken word as a tribute to this “beloved community.”
Entries — with a minimum of 25, but no more than 150 words — may be submitted by email to [email protected], or delivered to the Lincoln Center, no later than Feb. 21. The submissions must be original and unpublished.
Winners will get studio time at Victory Recording Studios in Troy.
Cunningham also announced April 4 as “A Day of Community Service and Art Exhibit” for fourth- through sixth-graders, the location of which is to be determined.
Monday’s celebration ended with a complimentary fellowship luncheon at First Place Worship Center.