Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day held virtually during pandemic

Warwick. Guests had an opportunity to offer brief remarks on the significance of the holiday.

| 26 Jan 2021 | 12:41

Editor. The wrong version of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration appeared in last week’s Warwick Advertiser. We regret the error. What follows is the story of the 2021 remembrance of the civil rights leader.

Normally at this time of year, members of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church (UAME) and guests from throughout the Warwick community would celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in their church at 98 McEwen St.

And in previous years the church building would often be filled to capacity as people gathered to honor the memory of Dr. King, the world famous civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prizewinner who was assassinated in 1968.

However, this year we are still in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and a crowded church would not be permissible or prudent.

And so, like many other recent celebrations, the UAME Church opted to host a virtual celebration on Monday, Jan. 18.

The service began with music video of the song, “Ain’t gonna let nobody” performed by the Howard Gospel Choir followed by the traditional recitation of the Call to Justice and Community.

Viewers were then shown another music video, “Lift every Voice and Sing,” by Wintley Phipps.

Rev. Jennifer Morrow, pastor of Warwick’s United Methodist Church, gave the invocation. And following scripture readings by Denise Smith, Channabel Morris Lathem, who had emailed the invitations with the link and password, welcomed everyone including honored guests who each had an opportunity to offer brief remarks on the significance of the holiday.

Guest speakers included Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Mayor Michael Newhard, Justices Peter Barlett and Nancy De Angelo, Doug Stage and Cedric Glasper.

The presentation also included a musical video tribute to Martin Luther King and the Grace Levites performance of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

The preacher this year was Union AME Pastor Rev. Dr. Ann Marie Bentsi-Addison Posey.

The service concluded with a video presentation and singing of “We Shall Overcome.”

- Roger Gavan