FARMINGTON — A small gathering remembered the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Monday during a service held at Trinity United Methodist Church.
It’s fitting and proper to hold this service at the same time an African American is being sworn in as president of the United States, said the Rev. Walter Brown, pastor of the church.
“King’s dream is deeply rooted in the American dream,” Brown said. “All men are created equal.”
He was joined by the Rev. Tim Walmer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Rev. David Smith of Wilton Congregational Church in leading the annual Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry service.
Smith provided the day’s message, “Slow, but sure progress.”
“As to what Lincoln did in 1863 and what Dr. King did in 1963, it was a moment in time that changed the nation, and for that matter changed the world,” Smith said, noting that their actions cost them their lives.
A hundred years after Lincoln pushed for adoption of the Emancipation Proclamation, King stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, addressing the need for equal rights and justice for all Americans in his speech, “I Have A Dream,” Smith said. It paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination against racial, ethnic, religious minorities and women. It also banned unequal voter registration requirements and racial segregation.
“King had the courage of his convictions,” he said. “And there comes a time when we must take the position that is neither safe, not politic, nor popular but we must do what our conscience tells us and that is … is it right,” he said.
As a Christian and minister of the gospel, King “knew his Bible and what he read in the Scripture and in the gospel was not what he saw on the streets of America.”
“He believed in nonviolence and he publicly preached about liberty and economic justice for all people, and for this he was arrested more than once,” Smith said.
“We can all thank Dr. King for a great deal and he indeed left this place a lot better than he found it,” Smith said of the ideals and goals in which King believed and worked toward.
Brown called the gathering to worship with the Rev. Walmer leading the invocation and prayer. Patricia Hayden served as organist. The gathering sang several songs including “We Shall Overcome” and the “Servant Song.”