In an effort to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his birthday and his legendary civil rights work, local clergy from the Sound Shore area will present a concert and ceremony in his honor on Jan. 20 at 6 p.m.
The annual event will be held at All Souls Presbyterian Church, 55 Parkway Drive, Port Chester, this year.
“What makes this year unique is that the school district and the community are coming together,” said Reverend Gerald Washington, pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church in Port Chester and the chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee.
The Port Chester high and middle school choirs will sing along with The Minister's Council Community Choir, which includes representatives from several different religious organizations.
“We should have a great time,” Washington said.
Natalie Wimberly, the pastor of Port Chester’s St. Francis AME Zion will give the keynote address, and three humanitarian awards will be given out to people who exemplify some trait of Dr. King’s.
“Whether it be kindness, unselfishness, love, compassion,” said Washington, "some trait that stands out in their make up and their deeds.”
The three recipients are:
-Rabbi Amel Wohl, of New Rochelle’s Temple Israel, who is being honored for his work and for his foundation of the Coalition for Mutual Respect between Jewish people and African Americans, Washington said.
-Father Stephen Schenck, S.T.B., who was a well-known, respected and loved priest at Port Chester’s Holy Rosary Church who passed away last year.
“He did everything. His name went a lot further than he did. He is unbelievable,” Washington said.
-Husband and wife, Darlene and William Wheeler. “I would describe them as extraordinary,” Washington said. The couple raised their children in the Port Chester community and actively worked to improve conditions. They started community discussions on how to do this and went door to door to encourage neighbors to participate and engage residents.
“That shows how extraordinary they are. It is hard to get people to vote, and to get people to do anything other than what they always do. It is not easy,” Washington said. “That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. did. He went to Memphis, Tennessee and died for the wages of garbage men, fighting for a better life.”
The concert begins at 6 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 at All Souls. Also, over the next week, clergy from several different organizations, including Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel (KTI), St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, All Souls Parish Presbyterian Church and St. Frances A.M.E. Zion, will be preaching at each other’s congregations. Read more on that on Patch tomorrow.