Despite not having a guest speaker, Monday’s Martin Luther King Day service at the First United Baptist Church, White Marsh, was a success. Here, those attending sing spiritual songs during the program. Photo by Bill Nachman
What would happen if a ceremony to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held and the guest speaker didn’t attend?
The 100 or more people who attended the MLK ceremony at the First United Baptist Church at White Marsh on Monday found out that you can still have a very meaningful program filled with song and inspiration by relying on other talented individuals who did attend.
In his closing remarks, the Rev. Dr. Elton Pryor, president of the sponsor Gloucester Union Relief Association & Missionary Baptist, said there was a miscommunication—“our wires crossed”—between himself and the invited speaker, Dr. Carl Sweat, adjunct professor of Regent University. Pryor said that Sweat missed this chance to speak but would be glad to attend a future King Day ceremony in Gloucester.
That apology aside, the slain civil rights leader King would have been pleased that the program in his honor included both spirituals—important to him as a pastor—and remarks about the need to treat fellow human beings with respect and dignity.
Pryor, who is pastor of Gloucester’s Zion Poplars Baptist Church, said that King “laid his life on the line” for a cause he believed was extremely important. “If you want to see change, you have to be changed,” he said.