A crowd of more than 50 turned out Monday, in spite of snowy conditions, to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the community's fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Luncheon, sponsored by nine local churches and hosted at Central Presbyterian Church.
The event featured a performance by the City Choir, led by Barbara Poulnot, inspirational King quotes from the Caldwell County Middle School Horizon Club, and remarks from the program's featured speaker, Rev. Kimberley Traylor, pastor of Spillman Chapel CME Church in Princeton.
For her message, titled “In Times Like These, For Such a Time as This,” Traylor drew from Esther 4:14-17, encouraging the crowd to “show up,” “speak up,” and “look up.”
King, she said, “was a dreamer. He was a realist. He was a real American, but above and beyond all these, he was a preacher, a prophet and a pastor, focusing on love, justice and liberation.
Such goals should be shared by all Christians, she asserted.
“We carry the name Christian. We carry Christ, so it's just the right thing to do.”
Like Esther and like King, “we should have the same resolve. We should have the same commitment to do what is right, despite the possible consequences.”
She encouraged those in attendance to take more active roles in the community, showing up for council meetings, elections, parent-teacher conferences and other local happenings, and to speak up against injustice.
“We must learn how to speak truth to power,” she said. “We must be true to ourselves, and if it's wrong, we've got to say it. Denying the truth doesn't change it.”
The third phase, she told the crowd, is to “look up” and keep the faith.
“This is a time when we don't need to bow; we need to stand our ground,” she said, noting the words of another familiar hymn — “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow.”
Following the program, the crowd gathered in the church fellowship hall for lunch.