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King's vision remembered

January 21, 2002

King's vision remembered



By STACEY DANZUSO

chbbureau@innernet.net

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Asking the audience to imagine the pipe organ behind him as the towering Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Elder Darin D. Mency Sr. took the crowd at St. Paul United Methodist Church back nearly 40 years to the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the memorial's steps.

Mency, assistant pastor of Greater Campher Temple for the King's Apostle Holiness Church of God in Hagerstown, recited the famous speech from memory Sunday at a service honoring the late civil rights activist.

Donald Waters, master of ceremonies for the event, said Mency's oration was vivid enough to bring the adults in the room back to Aug. 28, 1963, and give "the young ones a glimpse of what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for."

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"It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of this issue ... 1963 is not an end, but a beginning," Mency repeated.

The service was the 21st annual event held on the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and attracted about 100 people of all races and creeds at the multifaith ceremony.

"There is not one American alive today that has not been touched by his legacy," said the Rev. William Harter, pastor of Falling Springs Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg.

The Rev. Jeffrey Roth, associate pastor of St. John's United Church of Christ, also in Chambersburg, reminded the audience that the memorial service was not just to remember King's work and vision.

"It must also be a time of action," Roth said. "If Dr. King were living today, where would he be working to bring change? There is much work to be done."

The two-hour service included performances by the Mighty Men of God from St. James AME Church, as well as a presentation to the winners of a Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest.

The contest was sponsored by the Chambersburg Area Improvement Association and the winners, selected from 721 entries of Chambersburg Area School District students in kindergarten through 12th grade, included: Eily E. Elsenbaumer, a second-grader at Scotland Elementary School; Chelsey L. Michael, a fourth-grader at Coldbrook Elementary School; Alexandra P. Lambert, a sixth-grader at Chambersburg Area Middle School; Dinorah Santillan, a ninth-grader at J. Frank Faust Junior High School; and Amber L. Quivers, a junior, and Allison N. Cook, a senior, at Chambersburg Area Senior High School.

The essays responded to questions asking how to incorporate King's teachings into today's world.

Quivers wrote: "Dr. King said hate for hate only intensifies evil in this universe. We must all work on the issue of terrorism together as brothers."

Cook emphasized King's teachings of nonviolence in her essay.

"Just as Martin Luther King Jr. stood for nonviolence, so must we as a nation attempt to maintain peace," she read from her essay.

The annual King service is co-sponsored by the Chambersburg Area United Churches in cooperation with the Sons of Israel Synagogue, the Chambersburg Area Ministerial Alliance, the Evangelical Fellowship of Cumberland Valley and the Chambersburg Ministerium.

It got its start in the basement office at John Wesley AME Zion Church in the 1970s when the late John Rice, a pastor there, the late Rabbi Robert Chernoff of the Congregation of the Sons of Israel, and Harter talked about the importance of addressing issues of racial harmony and cooperation in the community.

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