'My message today is love'

Community celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Warwick's Union AME Church


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  • Photos by Roger Gavan On Monday, Jan. 16, members of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church and guests from throughout the Warwick community celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.




  • During the service the congregation was treated to musical selections by the First Baptist Church Choir of Monticello.




  • The theme of this year's service, said the Rev. Katherine Brooks, pastor of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church, was: "A voice through the ages."




  • A highlight of the annual event was a gospel song performance by well known classical/hip hop artist Reginald Bennett Jr., who invited his niece Tylee Sanchez, 15, to stand by his side for his first selection.




  • The UAME children's choir performed a selection of songs.




  • Guest preacher Rev. Dr. Alvan Johnson, pastor of Grant A.M.E. Church in Boston, whose topic was "The Call to Action," described Dr. King as the King of Hearts.



By Roger Gavan

— Members of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church (UAME) and guests from throughout the Warwick community celebrated the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16.

A well-attended congregation that morning had gathered to honor the memory of King, the civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner who was assassinated in 1968.

'A voice through the ages'The theme of this year's celebration, the Rev. Katherine Brooks, pastor of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church, said early in the service was: "A voice through the ages."

Sharon Halper from Temple Beth Shalom and representing the Jewish community was invited to perform the scripture reading. She read from the Book of Joshua: "We will serve none but the Lord our God," which was also a subject of the address by the guest preacher Dr. Alvan Johnson.

Sister Channabel Latham welcomed the local officials and dignitaries who attend the celebration every year and to first time visitor Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer who announced the establishment of a UAME Church in his village thanks to the support of Rev. Brooks.

In a departure from the usual practice of giving individual presentations, each official was simply invited to stand in place, briefly introduce themselves and make a short comment.

The special guests included Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, County Legislator Paul Ruszkiewicz, Mayor Michael Newhard, Mayor Jesse Dwyer, Councilman Floyd DeAngelo, Judge Nancy De Angelo, Judge Peter Barlet, attorney Douglas Stage and Cedric Glasper, president and CEO of Mechanical Rubber.

During the service the congregation was treated to musical selections by the UAME children's choir and the First Baptist Church Choir of Monticello.

'A call to action'Several other speakers spoke on Dr. King as the voice of our children, the voice of the millennials and the voice of generation X.

That included a performance by classical/hip hop artist Reginald Bennett Jr. He holds a bachelor's degree in Music in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music Education degree from New York University.

"God does not see us as black, white or Hispanic," Bennett said. "My message today is love."

Guest preacher Rev. Dr. Alvan Johnson, pastor of Grant A.M.E. Church in Boston, whose topic was "The Call to Action," said that we all have to have heart and described Dr. King as the King of Hearts.

"We must yield our hearts to the Lord," he said and later added, "The only thing that drives out hatred is love."

The service ended with everyone locking arms and singing, "We shall overcome."

Following the service, guests were invited to share refreshments with church members.





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