LEXINGTON, Va. (WFXR) — In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, one church in Lexington held a special service to commemorate the work of the minister and civil rights activist. Members of the church community spoke with WFXR News about Dr. King’s life and legacy, as well as what it means for us today.
“The church is 153 years old, organized a few years after slavery was abolished, and it is the oldest independent African American church in the city and we have been doing a myriad of ministries throughout those 153 years,” said Pastor McKinley Williams with First Baptist Church in Lexington. “And a lot of the seniors are a part of this church, and a lot of the pillars of the African American community are part of First Baptist Church.”
Pastor Williams says the church holds a special worship service on the Sunday before MLK Day where they invite the community and bring in a speaker as they celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King.
“Martin Luther King’s message has always held a special place in my heart. Growing up, my father actually marched with Dr. King when he was a college student,” said Lena Hill, a member of First Baptist Church. “So, King’s values of love; peace; working together for a stronger country, a stronger world, is something I was raised believing in, so having this worship service for an entire community is something I think — at this moment of profound divisiveness in our country — is all the more necessary.”
Pastor Williams says this kind of community is most important these days because we’re living in a time of division, chaos, and confusion
“One thing, one quote I love about Dr. King is he said, ‘Darkness cannot put out darkness, hatred cannot put out hatred. Only light can put out darkness and only love can put out hatred,'” Williams said. “And so we’re championing, we’re heralding the love Dr. King had, and hopefully the community will embrace his vision, his life.
Hill also discussed the pride she takes in the accomplishments of minorities and of women who are also minorities.
“I think as we prepare to see the first woman, and the first person of color, inaugurated on Wednesday in Kamala Harris, we can all take pride in where our country has come from,” Hill said. “I think that when we think of Dr. King’s dream, we see it realized in these accomplishments, and I think — not withstanding the difficulties of the current moment — we can look at the accomplishments of those around us and know we’re making progress.”