By MICAH HENRY
Clergy, group leaders, and youth inspired all to work collectively to enhance Alexander County in the course of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial celebration held Monday, January 16, 2023, at Macedonia Baptist Church on NC 90 East in Taylorsville.
Ms. Helen Chestnut served as Mistress of Ceremonies. The congregation joined in singing “Raise Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” adopted by a Scripture studying from Psalm 46:1-6 by Mrs. Ann Howard.
Rev. Scott Henson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylorsville, led the opening prayer, echoing Dr. King’s phrases that remind “the church will not be the grasp or the servant of the state however slightly the conscience of the state; it have to be the information and the critic of the state and by no means its device.”
Ms. Chestnut then acknowledged elected officers, who greeted the viewers. These included Mayor George Holleman, Alexander County Commissioner Larry Yoder, and Alexander County Sheriff Chad Pennell.
Mayor Holleman mentioned, “Immediately, we’re reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy of equality and social justice, a day designated by the Congress to be a day of service.” He instructed such acts of service as: being a lunch buddy to a pupil, assist on the Cell Café or Christian Disaster Heart, and befriend a affected person in a relaxation dwelling, write to a homebound particular person, or be of service to the church of your selection.
Commissioner Yoder acknowledged, “Martin Luther King mentioned, ‘Free finally, free finally.’ No better phrases have been spoken then after we have been free finally than after we accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts. By way of Jesus Christ, we get that salvation of realizing what’s there for us and we’re free, in a position to worship and go about and do the opposite issues we have to do.” He requested the viewers to mirror on what sacrifices they may make for his or her fellow man. “We’re supposed to like our neighbors and take care of each other…The instance we set is what we would like our younger individuals to be. It begins within the dwelling. It’s not born to you, it’s taught to you…Jesus gave all of it. Perhaps we may give somewhat to make life somewhat bit higher as a result of He gave all of it.”
Sheriff Pennell mentioned it was an honor for him to be current as the brand new sheriff. He learn from Matthew: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine coronary heart, with all thy soul, with all thy may. That is the primary and biggest commandment. And the second is like unto it: thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments cling all of the legislation and the prophets.”
“That is the place we mess up: Who’s our neighbor? Everybody,” Pennell mentioned. “We should always deal with each particular person we come throughout as if they reside proper beside us.”
He urged everybody to be vigilant and never move by alternatives to assist one another.
A number of youths participated within the occasion. Sequoia Wilson recited the Dr. Maya Angelou poem “Nonetheless I Rise.” This was adopted by Paris and Yazmin McClain reciting “In and Out of Time.” A Reward Dance was carried out by Osheyana and Heaven Howard. The youth portion concluded with quotes from Dr. King recited by Titus McClain.
Mayor Holleman then launched the visitor speaker, who can also be Macedonia’s pastor, Rev. Ty Michaux. Earlier than Rev. Michaux gave the message, Mrs. Phyllis Michaux sang a rousing solo of “Leaning On the Eternal Arms.”
Rev. Michaux opened his message with prayer and for his sermon, entitled “Don’t Kill the Dream,” he learn Genesis 37:5-8 and 18-19. The passages cope with Joseph and his brothers, who have been jealous of his dream and hated him, in search of to kill him.
“You’ve all the time bought these haters who’re on the market, attempting to place your hearth out…I thank God for a person by the title of Dr. Martin Luther King, who stood for non-violence and equality for everybody.”
“I consider that Dr. King will need to have learn Acts 10:34. The Bible declares that ‘God isn’t any respecter of individuals.’ As Rev. Michaux spoke about historical past, he cautioned that it’s simply that — the previous. “If you happen to keep prior to now, you can’t transfer ahead,” he mentioned.
“I like Paul’s writing right here to the Philippians in Philippians 3:13, ‘Brother, I rely not myself to have apprehended however this one factor that I do is forgetting these issues that are behind me and reaching forth unto these issues that are earlier than me.’
From Luke 9:62, Rev. Michaux learn, “He that places his arms to the plow and appears again will not be match for the dominion of God.”
“About 53 years in the past, we had no rights and have been thought of as a low class particular person and never whilst a citizen of the USA of America. We had no voting rights in any respect. However in 1965, a President by the title of Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into place to carry down these Jim Crow segregation legal guidelines. In different phrases, discrimination and segregation. Jim Crow was not more than a sequence of rigged, anti-black legal guidelines and it represented racism, which is nothing however hatred.
“Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that whites have been extra the chosen individuals and blacks have been cursed to be servants and God was all for it. My, my, my.
“Black males couldn’t supply his hand to shake with a white male as a result of it implied being socially equal. Blacks and whites couldn’t eat collectively. They may not even name us by our first title, as a substitute of claiming Mister, Misses, Sir, and Madam. Black males have been to by no means remark upon the looks of white females. Canines have been sicced on us. We have been known as names just like the “N” phrase. We have been sprayed with water hoses. You have been known as ‘Boy’ as a low, degrading title. I’m attempting to color an image for the younger individuals to see the place God has introduced us from. You’ve bought to know the place you’ve been so that you’ll know the place you’re going.”
He outlined separate amenities, akin to eating areas, faculties, and water fountains, which blacks have been pressured to make use of.
“The courtroom system was, and I nonetheless consider to this present day, is designed to take the black man out,” mentioned Rev. Michaux.
He recalled the defiant spirit of Rosa Parks, who disobeyed an Alabama legislation that required black public transportation passengers to surrender their seats to white riders when the buses have been full.
“My Bible tells me that in Matthew 19:30, ‘The primary shall be final, and that the final shall be first.’”
“However God despatched a person by the title of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who didn’t see shade and knew that every one males have been created equal within the sight of God,” Rev. Michaux acknowledged.
“When Jesus died on that cross, he died for blacks, whites, and all people else. And when He bought up out of the grave on the third day, it was for all method of males, all colours…If you’re going to heaven, you can’t have a difficulty with shade as a result of heaven is a ready place for a ready particular person. It’s going to be a spot the place all of God’s kids are going to return collectively…All of God’s kids…shall be across the throne of God, hand in hand, worshipping the Lord God Almighty.”
“So, younger individuals and previous individuals of God, don’t you let nobody kill your dream,” he associated. “You retain on dreaming as a result of in the future, your dream will come true.”
“Don’t let your previous management your future,” he added.
He quoted Dr. King: “I’ve a dream that this nation will stand up and reside out the true that means of its creed — we maintain these truths to be self-evident, that every one males are created equal. I’ve a dream that in the future the crimson hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves, the sons of former slave homeowners, will be capable to sit down collectively on the desk of brotherhood. I’ve a dream that in the future, even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the warmth of injustice, sweltering with the warmth of oppression, shall be remodeled into an oasis of freedom and justice. I’ve a dream that my 4 little kids will in the future reside in a nation the place they won’t be judged by the colour of their pores and skin, however by the content material of their character…”
“I’ve a dream that in the future each valley shall be exalted, each hill and mountain shall be made low, the tough locations shall be made plain, the crooked locations shall be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it collectively. I’ve a dream! Let freedom ring! Let freedom ring! Let it ring from the top of the mountains to backside of the valley! Let freedom ring!” Rev. Michaux quoted.
He wrapped up by saying, “If I maintain one thing in opposition to my brother and my sister due to the colour of their pores and skin, then you definitely may as properly take ‘heaven’ out of your vocabulary and rely hell as your own home.”
Because the service drew to a detailed, Rev. Sterling Howard, President of the Alexander County NAACP, thanked the group members for attending and recalled the previous efforts of civil rights points within the county — and points black households face as we speak.
“My coronary heart’s need is that Alexander County shall be remembered, again when Jim Westfield and I…after we went in Tiny Diner, that opened the doorways for lots of our brothers and sisters. I’d forgotten about it till I had seen an award that I’d acquired in a while. Doorways have been opened,” Rev. Howard acknowledged.
Nevertheless, he cautioned mother and father of as we speak to induce their kids ahead in pursuit of schooling.
“Each time blacks have been allowed to enter the white faculties, blacks mentioned, ‘We’ve bought it made now.’ You stop. Our mother and father have been arduous on us. You simply flip your youngsters free. That’s why we have now all this now — you possibly can’t chastise your youngsters. Of us that made these legal guidelines don’t should put up with their youngsters at dwelling as a result of they’ve bought them in non-public faculties. It was ‘baby abuse’ once I was little. My grandmother was Indian. Now, that was baby abuse — she made you exit and minimize your change. And also you’d higher not carry again somewhat department, you’d higher carry a change. You bought in hassle in school, they didn’t have a phone however they knew about it earlier than you bought dwelling, and my grandmother can be ready with a change.”
“I’ll say this to the black youngsters. I drove a bus 20-some years. I completed up at the highschool. They’ve Early School for teenagers. These years that I drove a bus, I didn’t see however one black baby going to Early School. Makes me need to cuss. Don’t you need the most effective on your baby? Don’t you need them to achieve success? Love hurts,” Rev. Howard associated.
Mrs. Michaux then led the congregation in singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Rev. Michaux provided the benediction prayer to conclude the service.
Refreshments within the type of a bag lunch have been distributed to attendees as they filed out of the church.