Faith in the City Annual MLK Celebration
On Sunday, January 27th, the community came together to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and at the same time pray for our Euclid community, it’s leadership and first responders. Rev. Denise Cunningham-Doggett, pastor of Lake Shore Christian Church, planned the annual Faith in the City event that was originally planned for January 20th but postponed due to the weather.
This event truly was a celebration! The participants included a diverse cross section of Euclid residents, faith leaders, city council representatives and police officers. Much of the focus was on the idea of being of service to one another. A Litany of Service included quotes from a variety of civic leaders intended challenge us to make service a regular part of our lives as Dr. King did.
- “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” -Marian Wright Edelman
- “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.” -Sheri L. Dew
- “You have not lived a perfect day, unless you have given something to someone who will never be in a position to repay you.” ― Dada J. P. Vaswani
- “I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody.” – Author Unknown
After the Litany of Service, Councilwoman Rev. Taneika Hill gave a moving tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asking the question, “Do will still need Dr. King today?” After recounting a variety of stories in the news that illustrate that racism, sexism and xenophobia still exist in many places, she reminded us that it isn’t not enough to dream, hope or believe, but we must speak up, speak out and take action, giving a voice to the voiceless and restoring power to the powerless. In closing she encouraged us to reflect on the work and the mission of Dr. King, as we celebrate his life and legacy, remember that it is up to us to carry on his vision and mission in all that we do, in the choices we make and conversations we have.
After the tribute to Dr. King, there was a scripture reading that asked us, "What does it mean to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8)?" To help illuminate the scripture, Rev. Armando Arellano spoke about doing justly, Dr. Martina Moore preached about loving mercy and Rev. Brian Moore spoke about walking humbly with our God.
One of the most inspiring moments came as a young man by the name of Taj Epps gave a tribute to Dr. King from a youth’s perspective. In an afternoon that featured many moving, challenging moments, his presentation was something extraordinary. He brought everyone to their feet.
The afternoon also featured a speech by Dr. King entitled, “If I Would Have Sneezed” dramatically presented by Rev. Jeffrey Doggett. Interspersed during the celebration were moving musical pieces and protest songs.
The service ended with prayers for our first responders, city officials and the city of Euclid. The police and council people present came to the front of the church to receive prayers and blessings. As the police officers were recognized, they received a standing ovation in recognition of their service. After the service, Councilman Wojtila commented, "I can think of no better way to unite as a community than through praise and worship of our Lord. The time spent together provided the opportunity to recognize and highlight our shared beliefs, concerns and struggles. I am grateful to the individuals who arranged, prepared and presented this awesome service highlighted by numerous reflections on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am also grateful to our police officers who attended giving us the opportunity to pray with and for them."
If you are interested in seeing excerpts from some of the talks, please visit the Faith in the City Facebook page. If you would like to hear Dr. King’s “If I Had Sneezed” speech, it is available on YouTube.
In years past, this celebration ended with the song, “We Shall Overcome”. This year Pastor Denise changed things up with, “I Need You to Survive”. To me, the lyrics of that song described how we will overcome by recognizing that we are all part of one family and that we do need each other survive. It is my hope that the sentiments expressed over the course of the afternoon continue to grow and spread throughout the city. Can I get an AMEN?
I am the Executive Administrative Coordinator for Euclid Ward 2 Councilman Rev. Brian T. Moore.