Wheeling’s Martin Luther King Day Celebration Set for Jan. 14-15

  WJU Communications
  Wednesday, January 3, 2018 5:30 PM
  Service, WJU News

Wheeling, WV

WHEELING, W.Va., Jan. 3, 2018 -- Wheeling Jesuit University and its partners from numerous faith-based communities have set the schedule of events for this year's Dr. Martin Luther King celebration, which will be held Jan. 14-15. 

Tmlk-flyer-2018-web.jpghe weekend celebration begins at 1:15 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 14 with the annual MLK Day Interfaith March for Justice. Participants are asked to gather at the top of Wheeling Hill, at the intersection of National Road and Stone Boulevard, where they will walk to the bottom of the hill.

“At this time in our nation when instances of racial disparity can leave us polarized, discouraged or angry at the seemingly irreconcilable perspectives on rectifying these injustices and healing our communities, Dr. King's legacy of word and action provides hope and strength,” said Jamey Brogan, WJU director of Campus Ministry and MLK Committee member. “Coming together to remember and celebrate his witness both reminds us that we remain in his good company and inspires us to reflect, imagine, pray, discuss and take action so that we may courageously continue the hard and important work of making our common American ideals of freedom and justice.”

New this year will be presentations during the March. According to the Wheeling YWCA’s Ron Scott, who is organizing the March for Justice, a choir will lead the marchers in song at the beginning of the route. At the midway point, Scott will read a portion of Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail. “This year we wanted to include some presentations of Dr. King’s works. Through the re-enactments, marchers will be reminded of his message, his work and what Dr. King stood for during his life,” said Scott. 

The march will end by the Fourth Street United Methodist Church - located at 1060 Chapline St., Wheeling, where the Rev. Danny Mason will re-enact part of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Participants can park at the bottom of Wheeling Hill, near the YWCA at the corner of 10th and Chapline streets where a shuttle bus will take them to the top of the hill to begin the walk.

Following the march, an Interfaith Community Worship Service, sponsored by the MLK Committee, will be held at Fourth Street Methodist Church. Organizing the event is Rabbi Joshua Lief of Temple Shalom. “In keeping with Dr. King's message of inclusivity, it is important that we come together as people from diverse faiths, and from across our community, to express our shared hope for justice and respect for our fellow human beings,” he explained.

The service will include representatives from many congregations who will offer scripture readings. Additionally, the choir from Tree of Life Church in Martins Ferry will lead the opening hymn, ‘We Shall Overcome,’ and the closing hymn, ‘Lift Every Voice,’ with Fourth Street United Methodist Church's Pastor Alan Flaitz playing the organ. Rev. Paul Schaffer will offer an invocation and Lief will offer the benediction. The sermon will be offered by Wheeling Mayor, Glenn Elliott, Rabbi Lief added.

Following the the 2 p.m. service, a luncheon will be held for participants at the YWCA, located at 1100 Chapline St., where the committee will present two awards – The Rosa Parks Award and the Martin Luther King Award.

The Rosa Parks Award honors women who have worked towards equal rights and who have resided in the Upper Ohio Valley at some point. This year, the award will be given to former Wheeling resident Chris Fontaine Covington.

“Chris' work with Laughlin Chapel, the MLK Celebration Committee and Christ United Methodist Church involved the promotion of racial and cultural diversity through education, theater, adult learning, public speaking and collaboration to grow the concepts of inclusiveness and tolerance in the Wheeling community. In this work, she was persistent, dynamic and sensitive in her approach and methodologies,” said Elissa Gross, MLK committee member. She nominated Covington for the award and will introduce her during the ceremony.

The annual Martin Luther King Award is awarded to a local civil rights leader. This year, the award will be given to Bill and Susan Hogan. “This couple has long been advocates for civil rights and social justice. They have been active locally, around the state and even internationally, through their service in the Peace Corps in Africa, lending their voices to the fight for racial equality,” said Brogan, who will introduce the Hogans during the ceremony.

Sunday's activities will conclude at 4 p.m. with a Community Christian Worship Service at Fourth Street United Methodist Church. The program will be presented by the Upper Ohio Valley Ministerial Alliance.

Activities for children will once again be held at Laughlin Memorial Chapel during the morning of Monday, Jan. 15. Winners of the YWCA Essay Contest will be on hand to read their works during the program.

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