|Churches sponsor missions to honor MLK holiday|
A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Jan. 16, 2009
Children at Fernwood United Methodist Church in Chicago will be the
honored guests at a Jan. 18 dinner to celebrate the late civil rights
leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the inauguration of the first
African-American president of the United States.
The dinner is part of the church’s participation in the national
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. During the dinner, the children
will read letters they have written to King at the urging of their
pastor, who is one of the three people ordained by the civil rights
leader in 1966.
"Adults are always being invited to sit-down dinners, and nobody
thinks of the children," said the Rev. Al Sampson, pastor of Fernwood.
He got the idea to have the children write a letter to King from the
children’s book, "The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small," by
Marian Wright Edelman.
Sampson worked with King at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and
it was there that he was ordained by the young Baptist preacher.
Sampson said when he joined The United Methodist Church, the church
honored the ordination and assigned him to Fernwood in 1975.
A Day On
The 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday takes on special
significance this year as it falls the day before the presidential
inauguration and offers an opportunity to fulfill the civil rights
leader’s call to make America a better nation.
President-elect Barack Obama issued a national call to service,
asking every American to serve on the King holiday and make a
commitment to renew their communities. More than 8,500 events have been
registered on the USA Service Web site, including many planned by
United Methodist churches.
Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church in Seattle will have
"mission madness" on Jan. 19, offering the congregation several
opportunities to volunteer in the community. Those who are unable to go
to work sites can put together health kits at the church.
"This will be one day that everyone can be involved in our mission work at Blaine," said church leaders in their newsletter.
"A Day On-Not A Day Off" was started in 1994 and builds on the
legacy of King by transforming the federal holiday into a national day
of community service. The day is about honoring King by doing things to
make our world a better place. For more information about the
activities go to http://www.mlkday.gov/ or http://www.usaservice.org/content/home/.
*Gilbert is a UMNS writer based in Nashville.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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