Many thanks go out to the Martin Luther King (MLK) Steering Committee Chairman, Melvin Philpot; Co-chairman Kenneth Bentley and the many volunteers who planned the 4-day celebration, which was attended by thousands from around the Central Florida area. Thanks to those who came before us and looked into the future and saw that with love, we as a community can continue to promote the ideas of Dr. King daily for generations to come.
The celebration began, Friday evening, Jan 17, at New Life Word Center, with the Poster Contest for elementary school students; and the Oratorical Scholarship Contest for high school juniors and seniors.
Saturday evening, Jan. 18, the Commemorative Banquet and awards ceremonies were held at the Sanford Civic Center, with Ms. Estrella Young, presiding. More than 400 people attended.
The City of Sanford Police Dept. Color Guard presented the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. Pastor Cubit Malone (Greater Providence Worship Center) gave the Prayer for Peace and Unity. Greetings from the Committee and introduction of the dais guests were given by Committee Member Dorothy Curry. Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett extended greetings on behalf of the city. Music selections were rendered by the dynamic MLK Celebration Choir, under the direction of Ms. Gloria Williams.
Dr. Adrienne Perry introduced her husband, Florida Supreme Court Justice, James E.C. Perry. Before his appointment to the Florida Supreme Court, Justice Perry served locally as Circuit Judge in Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit; he also served as Chief Circuit Judge. Justice Perry’s message was insightful, thought provoking and challenging; he admonished everyone, to keep the dream alive and become active in our communities especially with our youth. After the Prayer of Thanksgiving by Pastor Terry J. Kennedy, Word of Life Fellowship Church in Deland, dinner was served.
After dinner, Poster Contest and Oratorical Scholarship Contest winners were announced. The 2014 Annual MLK Service Awards were presented by Committee Co-Chairman, Kenneth Bentley.
The Humanitarian Award was presented to Ms. Algirine Miller for her volunteer work throughout the Sanford community for more than 25 years. She volunteers in many capacities and works tirelessly wherever she is needed.
The Brotherhood Award was presented to Dr. Willie B. Sherman, Jr., a practicing dentist in the Sanford and Orlando areas. He is the proprietor of We Care Dental Center in Sanford and Orlando. Dr. Sherman is dedicated to giving back to his community and volunteers many hours with church and civic organizations; and for 26 years has sponsored scholarships for students including Elks Lodge Scholarships and the Pearlie Mae Ford Scholarship.
The Community Service Award was presented to Mrs. Maya Nathan, an outstanding professional in music, drama and dance. Maya began her career in music at the age of 8; she enrolled in Tajiri Arts School under the tutelage of Patricia M. Whatley, while a student at Seminole High School. She became intrigued with stage makeup, design, cosmetology, modeling and music. Maya has written plays; worked with youth groups and church groups throughout the area; and she shares her love for interpretive praise and sign language. Maya was divinely inspired to start the Expressly You School of the Arts because of her love for young people and the arts. She has touched the lives of many young people and developed personal relationships with their parents. Her motto is “I Am Somebody, No Matter What You Say or What You Do. The Jesus Inside of Me Will Always Come Shining Through; I Am Somebody”.
The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ms. Gloria Williams, Music Director of the MLK Celebration Choir, for 27 years of service to the choir. Words of thanks and appreciation were expressed for her services throughout the years. Closing remarks and observations were made by Chairman Melvin Philpot. Pastor Terry J. Kennedy gave the closing prayer and the audience sang the closing song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”.
On Sun. Jan. 19, at 3 p.m., the Interfaith Worship Service was held at New Life Word Center, Dr. Ronald W. Merthie, Pastor. The processional of ministers and the choir was led by Worship Leader, Pastor Jimmie L. Blake, Morning Missionary Baptist Church; they marched into the edifice singing “We Will Stand”, led by Andrea Hayes and Margaret Davis.
The invocation was given by Pastor Wilbert Gordon, Abundant Harvest Deliverance Church. Throughout the service, the MLK Celebration Choir sang inspirational songs, “God Will Take Care of You”, “Low Down Your Chariot and Let Me Ride” (by E. Clifford Davis); “Every Praise”, and “My Liberty”. MLK Choir member, Sheralyn J. Brinson, presented the 2014 Choir Awards for dedicated service to the following choir members: Ruth H. Walker, for more than 14 years of service; Crystal Caldwell Hopson and Revonda Caldwell Parker, for more than 12 years of service, and Laura Bell Graham Stephens, for more than 12 years of service.
Greetings were extended by Ms. Argie Cofield, Bethlehem House of Praise Church, on behalf of the community; and Mr. Michael Walker, Progress Missionary Baptist Church, on behalf of the youth of the community.
The scripture (Acts 2:15) was read by Pastor Lovisa S. Moore, Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Pastor Valarie J. Houston, Allen Chapel AME Church (Co-chairman of Religious Service Committee), made the offertory appeal for scholarships and gave the prayer.
First Lady Patricia Merthie, of New Life Word Center, introduced her husband, Dr. Ronald W. Merthie, Pastor of New Life Word Center, who delivered the keynote message from Ephesians 2:10. He encouraged everyone to “know who you are in Christ; the Lord has a plan for your life; stay in His Will”. Kenneth Bentley presented a plaque of appreciation to Dr. Merthie for his service to the community, and to the MLK Committee throughout the 4-day celebration.
Closing remarks and announcements were made by Chairman Melvin Philpot. The service closed with everyone singing the hymn of fellowship, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now; Let peace begin with me, let this be my solemn vow. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”
Additional information regarding the 2014 parade and rally in the park will be reported at a later date, along with parade winners and other information about the 2014 MLK celebration.
• Sanford native, Bruce Allen Scott, and 11 other men, will be commissioned as deacons at the City Church-Sanford location, 650 E. Airport Blvd., on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m., in a special foot washing service.
Installing deacons at City Church is a first in the church’s 15-year history. “It is an humbling experience for me”, says Scott, whose grandfather served his church as a deacon. Scott wants to serve Pastor Eugene, the church staff, and members of City Church. Scott is a Florida registered paralegal at Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, where he has been employed for 34 years; he is also involved in numerous community organizations.
The Deacon Commissioning Ceremony takes place the first night of a 4-day Awakening Revival Conference being hosted by City Church. Service times are Sun. Jan. 26 at 6 p.m.; and Mon.-Wed., Jan. 27-29, at 7 p.m. The community is invited.
City Church of Orlando was founded in 1999 by Pastors Eugene and Laura Smith. Their services are multi-cultural and multi-generational, with the purpose of bringing God’s love to the city. For information, call 407-321-9600 or visit their website: www.orlandocitychurch.com.
• The Apostolic Church of Jesus, Inc. Power of Deliverance Ministry, 65 Louise Ave. in Oviedo invites the community to their “Fruit of the Spirit” Program, Saturday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.; Mother Dorothy Jackson, Coordinator; Elder Jerome C. Lewis, Pastor.
• The Living Word Church; 1914 E. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee is hosting a Men’s Conference Jan. 29-31, 7:30 p.m. Nightly and Sun. Feb. 2 at 11 a. m., with the theme, “Men Anchored in the Word of God”. Guest messengers are Pastor Orestes A. Cobb; Pastor Jonathan L. McKnight; Pastor Andre Stoudemire; and Dr. Alonzo Smith, Jr., Conference Host. For additional information, call 407-791-8067.
• Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, 1701 S. Bell Avenue, invites the community to their annual Deacons and Brotherhood Ministry Fellowship, Sunday, Feb. 9, at 3:30 p.m. Rev. Otis C. Raines, Pastor.