First Lutheran Church to have celebration for Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that his four little children would one day live in a nation where they wouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character, as he said in his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. This year, a group of people from the Minot community are planning to recognize and remember that dream.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2013 Holiday Celebration will take place Monday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, 120-5th Ave. NW, in Minot. All nurses in attendance will receive special recognition for their service in life saving and will have reserved seating. The event is ecumenical and all clergy involved will also have reserved seating. Members of the community are invited to sing in the choir, which will be under the direction of Ken Bowles. The Rev. Ken Nelson, senior pastor of First Lutheran Church, will serve as the host pastor for the event. Additionally, a scholarship for $1,000 will be awarded to a student attending any area high school or Minot State University who auditions and is selected to perform the dramatic reading portion of the program.

The program will consist of a procession of ecumenical clergy, a welcome prayer, songs sung by the choir, a presentation of local oratorio talent, and a Bible history trivia game. Songs performed by the choir will be a medley of national anthems, which include the American national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the African-American national anthem of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The Rev. Paul Bigby, program coordinator for the event, said there will be a dramatization of the black national anthem and the oratorio portion might include Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Additionally, the Bible history trivia game will focus on Joseph, he added, since Martin Luther King was an ordained pastor and dealt with many aspects similar to what Joseph dealt with.

The Bible history trivia game show, which will be in its first year of happening at this event, is a significant part of the program and is intended to be a competitive and educational experience. There is no age limit on who can participate in the trivia game. Participation is by teams of eight players and at least two coaches, and questions will be either multiple choice or short answer, explained Bigby. The host for the trivia game has not been decided yet, he noted, but City Manager David Waind will read the first question. Bigby said every participant in the trivia game is requested to be present at 6 p.m.

The hope is that 200 people will attend the program, Bigby remarked, figuring the number would be reached if 100 people in attendance brought along a guest. Even though King’s “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered at the March on Washington happened 50 years ago, Bigby is certain that there are still relevant messages from King that will be conveyed at this event. “There are still persons who have issues regarding race,” he said. “We hope that emanating from this great celebration would be a diminishing of those concerns. Progress is acknowledged, but there is still appropriateness for singing ‘We Shall Overcome.'”

Bigby said he wanted to place an emphasis on how the program is ecumenical, will involve inter-faith clergy and will include everyone. “Everyone is requested to come and process for the cause for which Martin Luther King was taken,” he said.

“There aren’t so many events (that) we stand together as a nation and this is being part of the bigger picture,” Bowles added.

The event is free and open to the public. However, donations will be accepted and 100 percent of the net proceeds will be dedicated to facilitating Clean Water Wells in Africa and the MLK Educational Scholarship. Bigby said he hopes a minimum of one person will donate. The fact that they will have actually provided clean water wells to desperately needed places in Africa, he said, would be a needed contribution and will have accomplished its goal.