Hopewell Baptist hosts MLK Jr. Day breakfast

Published 7:30 pm Monday, January 19, 2015

Elder Elijah Good of The World's Church of The Living God in Clanton address the crowd at the third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Monday.

Elder Elijah Good of The World’s Church of The Living God in Clanton address the crowd at the third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Monday.

The pews of the Hopewell Baptist Church in Clanton were lined with members of the community looking to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

The church held its third annual prayer breakfast honoring the late civil rights leader, with songs, prayer and more than 15 speakers taking turns talking about King’s impact on the past, present and future.

The theme for the event was “I Have a Dream,” and saw Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed open with a presentation.

“I am deeply honored to give a (tribute) honoring…a truly divine theologian and one of the greatest historical fighters of freedom, liberty and justice for all people,” Reed said.

Reed then read a portion of a proclamation signed by President Barack Obama in 2013 regarding the day as a national holiday, and offered his thoughts on what the significance of the holiday —as well as Dr. King’s legacy —was.

“Let us not make this a one day celebration of Dr. King’s greatness,” he said. “But a challenge to continue to fight for freedom.”

Reed’s presentation was followed with master of ceremony Jacquese King leading the crowd in singing the hymn, “I Love to Praise Him.”

The Pledge of Allegiance was then presented by the youth in attendance, with Minister Kenneth Allison of the Chilton County Democratic Conference sharing scripture from the Book of Psalms afterward.

Allison also spoke about the role King played in shaping voting rights in America, particularly the Voting Acts Right of 1965.

“We’re so blessed to have had Dr. King pave the way for us,” he said. “Most of us in this building do not realize that one particular law gives everyone in this building, every living human being, a right (to vote).”

After Allison finished, King led the crowd in singing “What a Mighty God We Serve,” and around 20 local pastors took to the podium to address the crowd.

Clanton City Councilman and minister at West End Church of Christ, Greg DeJarnett, spoke about the impact of strengthening local communities.

“We are continuing for economic development in this town,” he said. “Without economic development, it causes our communities to weaken, because we all have to leave and go different places to work. When we do that, we take our resources (and) everything with us. If we get economic development here, then our children —and what Dr. King was fighting for — can have economic opportunities and stay in Chilton County and build better communities.”

DeJarnett also discussed the importance of the black community working together for progress —particularly on the voting front.

“God has to put people in all kinds of places to get stuff done,” he said. “High places, low places. So when God is moving his people around, don’t sit back envying and despising. Trust what God is doing to get something done.”

After DeJarnett, Bro. Tommie Nettles of Union Baptist in Clanton spoke.

“Pray,” he said. “Pray God unites us. You can’t fight holding hands. Hands being held (are) hands of friendship.”

After Nettles, other local ministers, including Pastor Johnny L. Turner of New Convert Baptist in Maplesville and Pastor Otis Williams Jr. of Kincheon Road Baptist in Clanton, among others, took turns addressing the crowd.

The program ended with the hymn “We Shall Overcome,” and those in the crowd were encouraged to partake in breakfast at the church.

Event organizer Juanita Turner said the event was to remind people of all races about working to help one another.

“It’s not about self,” she said. “It’s about serving others.”