News & Media Coverage

"Dream" Speech brings Brockton Faiths Together in Prayer

August 26, 2013  |  The Brockton Enterprise  |  Link to article

By Maria Papadopoulos
Posted Aug 26, 2013 @ 06:01 AM
Last update Aug 26, 2013 @ 08:19 AM
Hope. Love. Unity. That’s what Brenda Goins celebrated on Sunday, as she listened to the inspirational words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and as she heard the melodic, young voices of the children’s choir of Messiah Baptist Church sing about praising God.

“I think it’s to give us hope, and to let us know that, you know, it’s still a fight, it’s still a struggle,” Goins, 59, a mother of two and grandmother of six, said of achieving racial equality and world peace.

She was among hundreds who attended “an interfaith celebration in music and words” to honor King at Christ Congregational Church on Pleasant Street Sunday afternoon.

Eleven congregations of varying faiths gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which was Saturday, and the legacy of King, a central figure of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Ann Whittaker, 71, of Brockton, said she attended Sunday’s event to honor King’s memory “and also to stand up again for the rights of all people.”

Attendees stood to applaud several of the performers, which included Bass-baritone Oral Moses of Atlanta, who performed as special guest. Moses, an expert on gospel and spiritual music who performs internationally, sang moving renditions of “Deep River,” “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.”

Also performing were the Jubilate Chorale, guitarist Craig Carter and members of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra. Susan Hotchkiss, music director at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleboro, accompanied performers on piano.

Keith Jackson, a member of Messiah Baptist Church, recited King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Behind Jackson were colorful banners that read “Walk together as sisters and brothers” and “All people are created equal.”

“Now is the time... to lift our nation,” Jackson said in reciting King’s words. One woman in the audience shouted “Yes!” as Jackson recited King’s words that preach togetherness and peace.

Carl Landerholm, president of the Brockton Historical Society, said the event served as a positive reminder of the good that is achieved by the people of Brockton.

“The spirit is there and that’s the magic,” said Landerholm, senior deacon at Christ Congregational Church.

Other participating congregations were Central United Methodist Church, Messiah Baptist Church, Pearl Street United Methodist Church, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Temple Beth Emunah, Trinity Baptist Church, St. Edith Stein Catholic parish, Christ the King parish, Our Lady of Lourdes parish and the Universalist Unitarian Church of Brockton.

Brockton Interfaith Community, Stonehill College and Crescent Credit Union co-sponsored the event.

Mayor Linda Balzotti, in addressing the audience, said the recent violence in the city “has called Dr. King’s legacy and his dream to the forefront of my mind.”

“Here today in Brockton, his call to action still rings true,” Balzotti said. “His life’s work has become our work and we still do have much work to do.”