Praising God on King's holiday


Peggy Golston worships at the King Celebration Gospel Program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Gainesville. Nearly 400 people attended the program.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.

Lawrence Flowers, lead singer of Lawrence Flowers & Intercession, told those still in attendance at the end of the annual King Celebration Gospel Program that he had to learn how to stop always asking God for things.

Flowers said he went into deep thought one day while driving, thinking about how God had basically answered all of his prayer requests. He said he then realized, it was time for him to start asking God what he can do to make God happy.

"I had to learn how to give back to God," said Flowers, before singing the hit song "More," which was released last year by the group. "I realized I need to give God more."

He urged the crowd to come near the stage to worship God with him and the crowd obliged as more than 50 people stood near the stage shouting praises to God.

The group, comprised of former Florida State University and Florida A&M University students, was the headline act at the program held Monday at the King Center to end the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday activities in Gainesville sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida Inc.

The group has released two albums, "Major in Ministry: Minor in Music, The Experience Live" and "Major in Ministry: Minor in Music, Volume 2: More."

The program began after the annual King March from the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza to the King Center.

Nearly 400 people attended the program, which also featured soloist Tywon "T. Bailey" Bailey, a Gainesville gospel rap artist; soloist K.C. Bryant of Springhill Baptist Church in Gainesville; The Galarza Family of Gainesville; Pastor Omar Johnson of Orlando and the Showers of Blessings Harvest Center Mass Choir of Gainesville.

The program began with an inspiring prayer by Evangelist Margaret Harris of PASSAGE Family Church. During the prayer, Harris thanked God for blessing the world with the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. President Barack Obama, who was sworn in for a second term a few hours earlier, and Evangelist Rodney Long, president and founder of the King Commission.

Long then spoke briefly, saying he didn't think King would be happy with a lot of things going on in America today, especially gun violence in the U.S. He also encouraged young men to "pull up their pants and put a book under their arms."

He also encouraged young people to "Google" and read King's famous "I Have A Dream Speech," which was delivered on Aug. 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital.

"For those of you who don't like to read, find it on YouTube and listen to it," Long said.

Long ended his remarks by urging people to register to vote at the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections table in the King Center. He reminded people that the right to vote was one of the things King gave his life for and that black people being able to vote is what helped get Obama elected.

The Rev. Karl "The Rev." Anderson, senior co-pastor at Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Gainesville, presided over the program and urged the crowd to use their cell phones to invite people to come hear the performers sing praises to God.

Macy Ramsey, who has been confined to a wheelchair since a car accident in 2010, said she always enjoys attending the gospel program to praise God with the community.

"I like this very much," said Ramsey, a former northeast Gainesville resident who now lives at Signature HealthCARE, a long-term nursing facility on SW 20th Avenue. "I am very glad I came."

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