Second Baptist, A.C.T.I.O.N. to host annual MLK Day event Sunday

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Local ministers, city leaders and residents will walk side-by-side Sunday, as Second Baptist Church and A.C.T.I.O.N. ministries host their annual celebration of America’s most prominent civil rights leader.

The public is once again invited to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, which begins at 2 p.m. in front of Dowagiac City Hall, located at 241 S. Front St. Following some brief remarks from local city and church officials, the assembly will march down the streets of Dowagiac to Second Baptist Church, located at 203 N. Paul St.

After arriving at the church, people will have the chance to warm up with homemade soups and chili before taking a seat inside the church for program commemorating the life of the civil rights activist, delivered by several church and local leaders, including Director of Public Safety Steve Grinnewald and new Second Baptist Pastor Maurice McAfee.

Organized for years by the church and Dowagiac ministry network, the march serves as way for the community to celebrate the life and message of Dr. King the day before the holiday commemorating his birthday, on Monday. Between 50 to 60 people usually participate in the march, with an even larger crowd assembling inside Second Baptist for the second half of the program.

The theme of this year’s march is “Unity in the Community,” said organizer Don Nash, with Second Baptist.

“It’s about unity, togetherness, respecting each other — the whole nine yards,” Nash said.

The event will also serve as Rev. McAfee’s official welcome to his new parishioners and to the public at large. The pastor, who comes to the Dowagiac from Benton Harbor’s New Bethel Baptist Church, will conduct his first official sermon in front the congregation Sunday, Nash said.

“It’s a double celebration, of both Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and of us getting our new pastor,” Nash said.

People of all denominations and walks of life are encouraged to join the festivities this weekend, Nash said.

“Come out and walk with us,” he said. “We’ll go to the church and have a hot meal. We’re going to have some good old gospel and spiritual healing.”