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Hudson Valley Press

January 16th, 2013

Bethel Missionary church to host 25th Martin Luther King, Jr. service

WAPPINGERS FALLS - The Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 2607 South Avenue, Wappingers Falls is hosting the 25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Commemorative Service on Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend the service.

This year’s theme, "The Freedom Riders and Martin Luther King, Jr.," recounts the brave efforts of young people from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who in 1961 put their lives on the line to end segregation in interstate travel.

This is a powerful historical account of how black and white youth seized the opportunity to use non-violent techniques espoused by Dr. King to alert the world on the issues of segregated travel and the "white" and "colored" signs at terminals, toilets, lunch counters and water fountains in some parts of the United States of America.

The Reverend Charlese Dorsey of the United Methodist Church of Wappingers Falls will deliver the sermon entitled "Kingdom Builders." Music will be provided by Barbara Davis, soloist, and the Bethel Missionary Baptist Chorus. As is the custom, the service ends with the Litany recited by the congregants and the singing of "We Shall Overcome." After the service, light refreshments will be served.

In 1988, three pastors from Wappingers Falls’ churches, William Dalrymple, Community Baptist Church, Edward L. Hunt, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, and Michael Webber, former rector of Zion Episcopal Church envisioned an event which would promote a unified community spirit and build on strengthening the bonds of racial harmony. They institutionalized a Wappingers community service in 1989 honoring Dr. King for his humanitarian service in building bridges of racial understanding. The event was planned as an annual service to be hosted by Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.

In past years Wappingers Falls clergy have been the speakers including the Reverends Gail Berger, (former director Dutchess Interfaith Council); Lindsey Borden, (First Presbyterian); William Dalrymple; Dr. Edward L. Hunt; James Kirk (Immanuel Church), Astrid Storm (St. Nicholas on the Hudson Episcopal Church); Keith Tamlyn (New Hackensack Reformed), and Alex Vinogradov (St. Gregory’s Orthodox Church).

A free-will offering will be allocated to a not-for-profit community initiative to be announced at the service. Past donations at the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Commemorative Service have supported the Jane Bolin Portrait Project, Grinnell Library, Meals on Wheels and several local shelters.

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