From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
APCE GROUP EXAMINES
05 May 1996 07:34:39
95050 APCE GROUP EXAMINES
MARTIN LUTHER KING'S DREAM
By Julian Shipp
ATLANTA--More than 20 participants in an Association of
Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) focus group examined the life
and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the
organization's Feb. 8-12 meeting.
The group toured the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for
Nonviolent Social Change, Inc., the Center's bookstore and King's
grave site. The civil rights leader was assassinated on April 4,
1968, in Memphis, Tenn.
Founded in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, the King Center is
devoted to research, education and training in the principles,
philosophy and methods of "Kingian" nonviolence, according to
Jawana V. Jackson, King Center manager of visitor services.
Jackson said the center continues to play an important role
in areas such as full employment, youth leadership and community
empowerment while working in conjunction with other national and
international organizations for nonviolent social change.
"Three point five million people visit the center each year,"
Jackson said, adding that Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
briefly visited the center on Feb. 9.
Just beyond the west boundary of the King Center is Ebenezer
Baptist Church, where, from 1947 until his death, King served as
co-pastor with his father, the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.
Today, the Rev. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., pastor of Ebenezer
Baptist Church, and his congregation work to fulfill King's dream
of peace, justice and reconciliation for all.
Additionally, Roberts said, the church conducts 36 mission
programs that include feeding the hungry, clothing the poor,
visiting prisoners, ministering to people with HIV\AIDS and
educating both children and adults.
"We are not trying to imitate Dr. King and you cannot get
yourself confused about that," Roberts said. "(King) took care of
some colossal matters and now we're coming in after the war to try
and pick up some things that are very, very pressing."
Even so, Charles F. Easley, vice president for student affairs
at Atlanta Metropolitan College and an elder at Radcliffe
Presbyterian Church, praised Christian educators for helping ensure
King's legacy through education.
"I have an appreciation for what they do as church educators,"
said Easley, who is also a past president of Presbyterian Men.
"They are the future of the church. You've got to teach, and when
people are informed, they perform. And I think that's also a good
training ground for leadership in the church."
The day-long trip proved to be both educational and
emotional, according to participants interviewed by the
Presbyterian News Service.
The Rev. Rebecca Ottmar, associate pastor of First
Presbyterian Church in Centralia, Wash., said she chose to visit
the center to learn more about King's religious heritage, ministry
and ecumenical appeal to the world.
"I've lived all my life in (the state of) Washington, and the
civil rights experience and Southern black movement seemed like a
foreign country to me," Ottmar said. "This was a real experience
for me to see what it was like and see what it's like to do church
in other places."
The Rev. Peg Papsch, an associate executive presbyter of
Philadelphia Presbytery from Upper Darby, Pa., said her decision
to visit the Center was an emotional one due to her own involvement
in the civil rights movement.
"I marched in the civil rights marches and I taught in an
integrated school in the 1960s," Papsch said. "I remember when
Martin was killed, but I'd never been to the (King Center) before,
so this visit was for me. And I brought a whole pocket(ful) of
Other places honoring black achievement toured by APCE members
included the APEX African American Museum, the Auburn Avenue
Research Library on African American Culture and History, and the
Atlanta Life Art Exhibit.
Participants also visited the Henderson House, the 15-room
museum that was once the family residence of the African American
founding family of Atlanta Life Insurance Co.
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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