Annual memorial service honors the legacy of civil rights leader

Published 8:10 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Every year, on the second Sunday in January, voices are raised in song at Mt. Hebron Church of Christ. There’s a celebration at work; a celebration of freedom, justice, equality and the man who led America’s Civil Rights movement, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday at 5 p.m., the church opened its doors for “The Dream Lives On!” and to a diverse crowd: children and the elderly; the casually dressed and those wearing church finery; men, women, the clergy, local politicians; black, white.

Organized by a committee led by Florence Lodge and Mildred K. Randolph, the memorial service is a mainstay for the West Sixth Street church. This year’s service featured two choirs — Mt. Hebron’s and St. Luke’s — as well as the St. Luke’s dance team, which performed to “Put A Praise On It,” by Tasha Cobbs. Fifth-grader Mykyra Hoggard sang a solo rendition of “For Your Glory” and speakers representing many area churches came to the pulpit to read scripture and pray with, and for, the assembled crowd.

Pastor Johneice Carroll, of Beebe Chapel, brought the children in attendance forward, and entreated them to “stand up, speak out, join the legacy against injustice. We need your help.”

First Christian Church’s Senior Pastor Dr. Jacob Kines was invited to share his message of unity, King and his legacy. Kines’ message was afterward described as heartfelt and well-received by those in attendance.

“I’ve gone to this service for many years prior but yesterday felt different. We were cocooned inside together, not black and white, but one … away from the turmoil outside,” Chynna Bonner said afterward.