Local congregation remembers life, achievements of King


The Rev. Milford Griner delivers his message entitled, "Man, Minister, Leader, Martyr: A Historical Evolution of Martin Luther King, Jr." to his congregation during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Worship Service at Pleasant Plain United Methodist Church, in Jonesville, Fla., Jan. 16, 2010.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.

The congregation of Pleasant Plain United Methodist Church began its Sunday service by lighting six candles for the people who were killed in Tucson, Ariz., last week and ended by joining hands and singing "We Shall Overcome" to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Facts

Martin Luther King Jr. celebration schedule

Today

10:30 a.m.: Press conference, King Memorial Garden. Contact: Rodney J. Long, 352-371-4566.
11 a.m.: Hall of Fame Award Memorial Tribute and unveiling of memorial kiosk, King Memorial Garden. Honorees: Ruth Brown and her husband, the late Richard “Steve” Brown, and Father John D. Gillespie. Contact: Rodney J. Long, 352-371-4566.
Noon: Kick-off program, Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza. Speaker: Eastside High School senior Taonga Leslie. Contact: Dorcas “Candy” Ramsey, 352-514-1275.
1 p.m.: Commemorative March, King Memorial Garden to King Center. Contact: Diyonne McGraw, 352-246-8071.
2 p.m.: Gospel program, King Center. Featuring: Apostle J.L. Cash & Praise and Beverly Camps Crawford, along with the King Celebration Choir

Wednesday
6 p.m.: Coretta Scott King observance program, Showers of Blessings Harvest Center, 2615 SE 15th St. Contact: Marie Small, 352-335-0572.

Post-King celebration activities
Jan. 19-21
6 p.m.: Alachua County Women Empowerment Revival, Greater Bethel AME Church, 701 SE 43rd St.. Contact: Angela Terrell, 352-222-3699, or the Rev. Marie Herring, 352-665-6314,
Jan. 20
7 p.m.: “Nikki Giovanni: An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment,” Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida, 315 Hull Road. Contact: Jarrod N. Cruz, 352-392-1217, Ext. 248.
Jan. 21
6 p.m.: Candlelight vigil, Reitz Union Amphitheater, UF campus. Contact Jarrod N. Cruz, 352-392-1217, Ext. 248.
Jan. 23
11 a.m.: “The Path to the Promised Land,” Hall Chapel United Methodist Church, 6025 SE County Road 234 in Rochelle. Speaker: Jake Mobley. Contact: Rev. Milford L. Griner, 352-377-5022 or 352-665-4066.
3 p.m.: Camelliaettes: “Out of the Past,” D.R. Williams Fellowship Hall, 618 NW 6th St. Contact: Kate Mayberry, 352-377-6786 or 352-214-0653.
Jan. 30-31
7 p.m.: “A Girl From Rwanda,” Gainesville Community Playhouse, 4039 NW 16th Blvd. Tickets: $5. Contact: Rhonda Wilson, 352-870-0064.
Feb. 11-13
7 p.m.: “When King Comes, 7 p.m. Feb. 11-12 and 3 p.m. Feb. 13, Duval Elementary School, 2106 NE 8th Ave. Tickets: $8 adults, $5 students. Contact: Rhonda Wilson, 352-870-0064.
Feb. 27
Ebony Appreciation Awards Banquet, Time and location: TBA.
April 1
8:30 a.m.: King Prayer Breakfast; location: TBA.

Facts

Post-King celebration ceremonies

Jan. 19-21

6 p.m.: Alachua County Women Empowerment Revival, Greater Bethel AME Church, 701 SE 43rd St.. Contact: Angela Terrell, 352-222-3699, or the Rev. Marie Herring, 352-665-6314

Wednesday, Jan. 19

6 p.m.: Coretta Scott King observance program, Showers of Blessings Harvest Center, 2615 SE 15th St. Contact: Marie Small, 352-335-0572.

Thursday, Jan. 20

7 p.m.: “Nikki Giovanni: An Evening of Poetry, Love and Enlightenment,” Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida, 315 Hull Road. Contact: Jarrod N. Cruz, 352-392-1217, Ext. 248.

Friday, Jan. 21

6 p.m.: Candlelight vigil, Reitz Union Amphitheater, UF campus. Contact Jarrod N. Cruz, 352-392-1217, Ext. 248.

Sunday, Jan. 23

11 a.m.: “The Path to the Promised Land,” Hall Chapel United Methodist Church, 6025 SE County Road 234 in Rochelle. Speaker: Jake Mobley. Contact: Rev. Milford L. Griner, 352-377-5022 or 352-665-4066.

3 p.m.: Camelliaettes: “Out of the Past,” D.R. Williams Fellowship Hall, 618 NW 6th St. Contact: Kate Mayberry, 352-377-6786 or 352-214-0653.

Jan. 30-31

7 p.m.: “A Girl From Rwanda,” Gainesville Community Playhouse, 4039 NW 16th Blvd. Tickets: $5. Contact: Rhonda Wilson, 352-870-0064.

Feb. 11-13

7 p.m.: “When King Comes, 7 p.m. Feb. 11-12 and 3 p.m. Feb. 13, Duval Elementary School, 2106 NE 8th Ave. Tickets: $8 adults, $5 students. Contact: Rhonda Wilson, 352-870-0064.

Feb. 27

Ebony Appreciation Awards Banquet, Time and location: TBA.

April 1

8:30 a.m.: King Prayer Breakfast; location: TBA.

"As we celebrate the total life of Dr. King, if he were with us today in 2011, he would be grieved in his heart at the division, hate, violence and intolerance that has overtaken many aspects of our society, including the recent tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., that took the lives of six people, including an innocent and precious 9-year-old girl," the Rev. Milford Griner said. "Dr. King would stand up and declare that the time is now to come together in peace."



From the concrete canyons of New York City to the simple white church in an oak grove in Jonesville, millions of parishioners across the United States prayed together and remembered the preacher who was assassinated for helping to bring greater equality to America's black community.

Pleasant Plain's youth celebrated King's life by reciting a biography of him, dancing and acting out a drama about his decision to become a minister and go to college at age 15.

The celebration of King was paused for a moment to remember those who died in Tucson: 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who wanted to go into public service; retired homemaker and secretary Dorothy Morris; Federal Judge John Roll; retiree and avid sewer and knitter Phyllis Schneck; Dorwan Stoddard, who placed himself between his wife and the gunman; and Gabriel Zimmerman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' director of community outreach. A candle for each was lit and Griner, along with the congregation of several dozen, bowed their heads in silence.

Griner said that, through his 26 years as a pastor, every year he has held a special service for King so each new generation will understand who he was and what he sacrificed so they can go to good schools, sit anywhere on a bus, train or plane, eat at any restaurant they choose, be hired anywhere they would like to work and be promoted into management positions.

"Out of his death came so many great things," Griner said. "We are much better off than we all were, so we should all stand to our feet and say thank you, Martin!"

A number of events to commemorate King's life will continue today in Gainesville, including the Hall of Fame Memorial Tribute, Kick-Off Program at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, the annual march from the King Memorial Garden to the King Center and a gospel program.

In his sermon Sunday, Griner tried to reach the youngest members of the church as he described King playing with his children — even placing little Yolanda on top of the refrigerator and encouraging her to jump into his arms. He also talked about a pillow fight King had with some of his fellow Southern Christian Leadership Conference workers the night before he died.

Taisha Brown, 16, a junior at Buchholz High School, played the part of King's good angel who encouraged him to become a minister in a skit. She said if she could tell him anything, it would be, "thank you."

"He helped make us united — more together," she said.

Contact Kimberly C. Moore at 374-5036.

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