Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tributes to Martin Luther King in Augusta

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Augusta will have two Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Programs:  one observed January 21 at the Paine College Chapel at 11:30am; and the second one on Tuesday 15, at the First Baptist Church at 7:00pm.  Both programs are designed to appeal to the greater human responsibility to each other.  

I write this notification and appeal not only on behalf of the Progressive Religious Coalition of Augusta (PRC), but actually on behalf of the Augusta community as a whole.  On Tuesday, Jan. 15th, the PRC will host its 6th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. “interfaith” tribute service. This event will also feature the award-winning chorale from Davidson Fine Arts, and the instrumental group, Trio Intermezzo, known to many Augusta musical devotees.

The event last year held at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church was an SRO reality; this is fully the expectation for this year’s event at FBC as well.  Past keynoters have included President Obama’s former minister from Chicago (Dr. Otis Moss) who was the head of staff at Tabernacle Baptist here in Augusta; mayor of Tuskegee, AL Omar Neal; and last year Dr. Raphael Warnock, head of staff at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (Dr. King’s “home church”).  

The interfaith component of this service is special and important for this or any other community.  As a revered Roman Catholic priest/scholar once opined:  “No peace among the nations until peace among the religions; no peace among the religions until dialogue among the religions.”  Our PRC fully endorses this view and deems co-worship to be an even greater commitment to a peace process.  Traditions are not compromised in this worship service, rather it is the various faith groups bringing their “best fruits” to join together in just, peaceful, and loving celebration and commitment.  

Along with the detailing of this event, I would also like to make an appeal.  The PRC has no operating budget!  Historically, the PRC compensates keynoters and gifts local charities out of the “collection” taken at the events themselves.  This year’s recipients of certain monies collected will be Safe Homes (in deference to MLK and nonviolence) and St. Stephen’s Ministry.  Owing to steeper expenses related to this event, the PRC has undertaken the effort to secure pre-event contributions, thus making it possible to use every dollar collected at the event for the 2 charity designees.  Several local banks (GA Bank & Trust, First Bank) have stepped up to this challenge and certain private citizens as well.  There is still, however, a critical need for additional funding.  

If you are able, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help stage this event and allow 2 worthy “local” organizations to be aided in their significant work.  Checks should be made out to First Baptist Church and mailed to First Baptist Church (3500 Walton Way Ext., Augusta, GA, 30909), but checks need to be designated to the “MLK Service.”  

On behalf of the PRC, I do hope that regardless of your ability to contribute any pre-event financial support, that you will publicize this event and attend this truly unique and historic event.  

Blessings upon you and yours in this New Year!

Gratefully,

Sid Gates, D.Min., M.S., LMFT
(On behalf of the Progressive Religious Coalition of Augusta)

Update: Rev. Joseph Lowery will not attend the event due to health complications.


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