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Chambersburg community remembers Rev. King

January 21, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Clapping and shouts of praise echoed through First Evangelical Lutheran Church on Sunday in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. service electrified in part by a dynamic Steelton, Pa., preacher.

The Rev. Ronnie B. Tucker talked about walking by faith like King and pulling others up into a better life like those who came before us did.

"We must become the drum major in the parade of overcoming crippling dreams," Tucker said.

Chambersburg's 29th annual service was sponsored by the Chambersburg Area Ministerial Alliance, the Evangelical Fellowship of the Cumberland Valley, the Chambersburg Ministerium, the United Churches of the Chambersburg Area, the Sons of Israel Synagogue and the Chambersburg Community Improvement Association. The winners of the annual Martin Luther King Essay Contest were announced.

They were Lindsey Horridge, a third-grader at Falling Spring Elementary School; Abigail Pasierb, a sixth-grader at Chambersburg Area Middle School; Olivia Beckner, a ninth-grader at Faust Junior High School; and Miranda Buckheit, a fifth-grader at Scotland Elementary School.

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"Unfortunately this year, I'm not sure what happened, but we didn't get any senior high essays. It was really disappointing. ... We want seniors' essays next year," said Yvonne Taylor, a Shippensburg (Pa.) University professor who helped oversee the contest.

Stacy Leeper, who has been a teacher for 21 years, said she has offered the essay contest to her students for many years. Lindsey is in her class this year, and last year's third-grade winner, Blair Orndorf, also was a student in her class.

"First, I always read the question to the kids. ... We read at least one book about Martin Luther King and talk a little bit about what he did and how he changed things," Leeper said.

She said she also challenges the children to consider ways they can change the world.

Tucker said that change would come, in part, from pausing to "reflect on the wasness of yesterday, isness of today and not yet of tomorrow."

"In 2008, we have an African-American, a Mormon and a woman all desiring to be president. Only in America could that happen," Tucker said.

"What a perfect picture of America, not a melting pot as some would describe it, but an intricate tapestry," said Paul Yeun, president of the United Churches of the Chambersburg area.

Tucker charged those in attendance to "march with faith" like King.

"We, as Dr. King did, must hold up the banner of brotherhood," said Tucker, who is an associate professor of government at Shippensburg (Pa.) University, as well as the pastor of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Steelton, near Harrisburg, Pa.

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