WHAT IS IT?
Middletown's newest church will introduce itself to the community this weekend by hosting a musical celebration in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King, as well as local residents whose lives have exemplified his legacy.
"Dr. King stood for equality for all, and social, civil and economic justice, so our goal in holding this concert is to bring the whole community together through song, readings, dance and fellowship," said Jeffrey J. Broughton Sr., lead pastor of Living Grace Worship Cathedral. "Because that's the mission of our church: we're here for all God's creatures and that includes all races, sexes and genders."
WHAT WILL IT INVOLVE?
The free, two-hour event at Louis L. Redding Middle School on Saturday will feature Grammy-nominated musician John Forté, who produced the Fugees' breakthrough album "The Score," along with the Delaware State University Gospel Choir, "Created to Worship" of New Jersey and Middletown's own Gospel Creations Mime Ministry.
The church also will honor local "Living Legends," including the newly-formed M.O.T. NAACP, Middletown activist Carrie Cale, Middletown High School football standout Chris Godwin and Pastor Zelda Carter, executive director of the Family Help Inc. transitional housing units on West Lake Street and co-founder of Christ Servants Mission Power 4-U-Community Center, an umbrella organization that includes the local Agape Store House Community Basket food pantry in MIddletown.
"During the program, we'll be breaking down Dr. King's 'I Have a Dream Speech' into segments, each one of which will honor a Living Legend and include a song by one of our guests," Broughton said. "It will be a celebration more than a church service."
HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
Living Grace Worship Cathedral was recently founded by Broughton, the former pastor of Union Baptist Church in South River, N.J.
The church will hold its first worship service at Redding Middle on Sunday, Feb. 2, but Broughton and his wife, Dawn, have been hosting community events in Middletown since December to help raise awareness of the new church.
"Last month, we held a free, holiday community feast in conjunction with the M.O.T. NAACP," said Broughton, who also works as a hospice chaplain. "Holding an event around Martin Luther King Day seemed like a natural next step, since it's something we did every year at Union Baptist during my eight years in the ministry."
The event will mark what would have been the slain Civil Rights leaders' 85th birthday on Jan. 15 – a national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of each January since 1983.
The Broughtons said they're hoping to make the church's Martin Luther King concert an annual celebration, and possibly Middletown's signature MLK Day event.
Page 2 of 2 - "We'd like to hold it on the actual day next year," Dawn said. "We're not aware of any other community wide celebration, so we'd really like to make this something that everyone attends to celebrate Dr. King's memory and legacy."