Riverside Church Celebrates Dr. King

January 4, 2011

“Distinguished Preacher Series” and “Realizing the Dream 2011” to Provide a Day of Programming Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Site of his Famous “Beyond Vietnam” Speech

In celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to commemorate what would have been his 82nd birthday, The Riverside Church will honor his memory with two events on Sunday, January 16, ……first, with its popular Distinguished Preacher Series at 11:00 a.m. and at 3:00 p.m., Realizing the Dream, a tribute event featuring music, prayer and guest speakers. Both events will take place in the Nave of The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive (bet 120th & 122nd St.), Morningside Heights.

“Dr. King’s spirit will surely be felt by those in attendance for the Distinguished Preacher Series and Realizing the Dream events at Riverside,” said Riverside Church Interim Senior Minister, Rev. Stephen H. Phelps. “These events commemorate the memory and legacy of a man whose impact on the nation and beyond has been immeasurable. As the place of Dr. King’s historic Beyond Vietnam speech, Riverside and this prince of peace are bound by history and we are honored to celebrate his life and committed to keeping his dream alive.”

As part of Riverside’s Distinguished Preacher Series, a monthly speaking series providing the opportunity for the public to hear some of the most powerful Christian preaching voices of today, The Rev. Dr. H. Beecher Hicks, Jr., Senior Minister of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington D.C., will start the day off leading service. Dr. Hicks is the senior minister of the 6,000-member historic Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Since his election in June 1977, Dr. Hicks has served as the fifth senior minister in the congregation’s 140-year history. He has held faculty appointments at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Wesley Theological Seminary and Howard University Divinity School. Dr. Hicks was designated as one of the greatest African American Preachers by Ebony magazine and named one of the most influential persons in Washington, D.C. by the Washington magazine.

The Distinguished Preacher Series will continue through May, with future guest preachers including: The Rev. Raquel A. St. Clair, Ph.D., the first woman to serve as the Executive Minister to the 6000 members of the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ (March 20, 2011); and The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad, the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City (May 15, 2011). Each participant brings a history of inspired, reflective and acclaimed standing in the American pulpit. They are all noted for bringing their own special gifts and contributions to both the cultural and theological landscape, helping to nurture and lead devout Christians through the challenges of the world today.

Continuing the celebration of the life of Dr. King, The Riverside Church will host Realizing the Dream. Led by the Riverside Church Senior Minister Emeritus, The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., The celebration at the famed Church will begin with a performance of a musical tribute to Dr. King, entitled “In Honor of Martin” composed by David Hurd, professor of music at the General Theological Seminary of New York and sung by The Riverside Church choir, under the direction of Christopher Johnson.

The service will also include remembrances of Dr. King. The Rev. Dr. W. Franklin Richardson, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon and Executive Director of the Conference of National Black Churches will offer the Keynote message. A few brief statements will be given by elected public officials, clergy and community leaders. Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, William Wachtel and Susannah Heschel will be presented with the “They Walked with King” citation.


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