Community honors MLKPublished 9:34pm Monday, January 16, 2012
More than 60 people gathered Monday at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Niles to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Among the attendees were State Rep. Sharon Tyler, city council member Dan VandenHeede, Niles Community Schools Supt. Richard Weigel and area clergy.
Former Berrien County Judge Casper Grathwohl was the keynote speaker, sharing about the righteous anger of King.
“When we think about anger, we usually think of something bad, leading to violence and hatred,” Grathwohl said.
He said that is often the case, based on his 19 years as a judge in Berrien County, when he saw angry people commit assaults and domestic violence. But King’s anger was different, Grathwohl said.
Grathwohl reflected on when King was told to leave his front seat on a bus to sit in the back. He said it was the angriest he had ever been and it led him on a mission to see that law abolished.
“He was able to channel his anger into nonviolent, forceful, spiritual action,” Grathwohl said.
King embodied the beatitudes mentioned in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Grathwohl said, specifically “blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
“Dr. King was truly a child of God,” he said. “Because not only did he speak the truth, but he lived it.”
Attendees also watched a documentary on King and joined hands in a circle, singing the Civil Rights Movement protest song, “We Shall Overcome,” and praying together to close the meeting.
The Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan, represented by Deb Panozzo, encouraged everyone to bring a bagful of food to a local pantry in honor of King.