January 23rd, 2013
25th Annual MLK Service
Henry Lawrence, Chairman of the Deacon Board, performs as Dr. King, at the 25th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Community Commemorative Service held on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Wappingers Falls, NY. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.
WAPPINGERS FALLS — It was in 1988 that 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.
For the past 25 years, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church has hosted this annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative service as a way to bring the community together and honor the life and legacy of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Each year a religious leader is chosen to be the guest speaker and give their perspective on the life of King.
On Sunday, about 250 people filled the church to hear The Reverend Charlese Dorsey, Pastor of the United Methodist Church of Wappingers Falls deliver her sermon, "Kingdom Builders."
After reading from Philippians 1:9-11, she explained that there are three things needed to become a "Kingdom Builder." They are Love (of Jesus Christ), Wisdom, and Fruit.
Dorsey asked everyone to pray for love to increase. "Everything we do should come from love." Wisdom: "You have to know where you came from to understand where you are going." She implored the youth to learn their history, to have pride in their history so they can become Kingdom Builders. And finally fruit: "we stand on the shoulders of our forefathers. And what they built is for an eternity," Dorsey said. She charged the youth to live up to the high standards of Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jr and to become the Kingdom Builders they were meant to be.
The Black History Committee also provided a historical reenactment of the Freedom Riders and Dr. King. About 30 youth performed three scenes depicting the Freedom Riders battles to end segregation on Trailways and Greyhound Buses. They were interwoven with historical video and pictures of the day to further emphasize the dangers each Freedom Fighter faced.
As is the tradition, a collection is taken at the service every year. The monies collected are, "put back into the community, Amen,” Hunt said during the service. This year, $1,250 was raised for Mid-Hudson Love INC.