January 16 is a day set aside to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. Mennonite Church USA colleges are hosting a number of special events. If you live nearby, here are the events you can check out.
This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Bethel College will focus a lens on the past in order to inform the future. The annual event takes place Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center and is free and open to everyone.
Regina Shands Stoltzfus, assistant professor of peace, justice and conflict studies at Goshen (Indiana) College, is the keynote speaker, on the topic “Renewing the Spirit of Empowerment: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” A freewill offering will be taken to support a new Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship to be given to a freshman or sophomore student of color.
Bluffton University will present “My Voice, My Community, My Bluffton: Race on Our Campus” at 11 a.m. during the Tuesday, Jan. 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Forum in Yoder Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Events will center on the theme “For Such a Time as This,” drawn from the MLK quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only Love can do that.” See the full schedule of a week of events online.
Sunday Jan. 15: 11 a.m. Community Church Service with Rev. Dr. Chinita Richardson, at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 184 Kelley St., Harrisonburg. Transportation provided, departing the Campus Center at 10:30 a.m.
12:45 p.m. Community Lunch for church attendees held at John Wesley United Methodist Church, 425 Effinger Street, Harrisonburg, VA.
Monday Jan. 16: 10-10:15 a.m. Solidarity March starting on EMU Thomas Plaza (in front of the Campus Center)
10:15-11:15 a.m. MLK, Jr. Celebration Chapel Service with Rev. Dr. Chinita Richardson, Pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Harrisonburg, VA. Join the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through praise and worship featuring the Eastern Mennonite University Gospel Choir. Sermon Title: “__________” (Lehman Auditorium)
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Chapel Talk Back in Common Grounds Coffeehouse.
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. People’s Day at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. (11:30 a.m. March, 12:30 p.m. Program, 1:30 p.m. Community Potluck Meal) Transportation provided.
Events will center on the theme “It is Time” and feature speaker Sarah Thompson, director of Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Sunday January 15: Church service at College Mennonite Church, featuring guest speaker Sarah Thompson, talking about “MLK and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” The community is then welcomed to a free concert and discussion with community artists, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Umble Center.
Monday January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Study Day will begin with a community breakfast and table discussions with Thompson, who will speak on “A New Unsettling Force: MLK and the Poor People’s Campaign.” Tickets are required for the breakfast, and can be purchased online at goshen.edu/tickets or by contacting the Welcome Center at (574) 535-7566 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are available at a reduced rate of $18 for adults before Jan. 3. Tickets are $22 after Jan. 3.
Following the breakfast, students will present a spoken-word coffeehouse, and at 10 a.m. the community will gather for a campus convocation, again featuring Thompson, who will speak about “MLK, the Poor People’s Campaign and Elkhart County since the Great Recession.”
The Campus Activities Board and the Inclusion and Diversity Club are jointly sponsoring a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day coffeehouse. More details coming soon.
Photo: Sarah Thompson speaking at the Martin Luther King Jr. events at Bluffton (Ohio) University in 2016. Bluffton photo.
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