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OXFORD — The keynote speaker at an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day fellowship breakfast Monday spoke of some of King’s lesser known contributions.
The breakfast and program, hosted by the Granville County Human Relations Commission, was held at Oxford Baptist Church.
Loenzo Lynch, president of the North Carolina General Baptist Convention, spoke of how King improved people’s lives.
“When you get on an elevator and you see braille beside the numbers, or you go to the ATM and see braille so that those that are sight-impaired may use those items, … all of this was wrapped up in the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. King and all of the unnamed heroes that sacrificed and gave of themselves,” said Lynch.
Lynch, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Charlotte and former Pastor of Rock Spring Baptist Church in Creedmoor, said King also inspired a movement of women’s rights and affirmative action in politics and corporations.
Lynch spoke of a passage in Acts, where Peter and John met a lame man and the gate to a temple.
“The text gives (the man’s) condition, but does not give his name,” Lynch said. “We have to be careful in society; sometimes we get labels that tells our condition, but never forget we all have a name.”
He said the passage contains a lesson.
“If we are ever going to get well and we are ever going to heal, we have to admit who and what we are,” Lynch said. “We all are like this man at the gate, invalids out of options, that is us. Close but not there, almost but not enough, that’s us. In need of a God moment, in need of a God encounter, in need of a miracle, in need of a transformation.”
He said that perhaps the man at the gate was not allowed to go inside the temple and was there because of a secret faith.
“Faith is the spark in the fire that will not go out,” he said. “Faith is that which keeps us moving, keeps us going forward. Faith is that which picks us up when the world knocks us down. Faith is what gives us courage to go on further, even though obstacles stand in our way. Faith gets us up in the morning, even though when we went to bed last night all of our problems were not solved.”
The gates will be crowded, he said, but we will go there together as one.
Laursen earns Blackwell award
During the breakfast, Doan Laursen received the Robert O. Blackwell Award for outstanding service to the community.
Laursen has been president of the chamber of commerce, served on the United Way board and held many leadership positions in Granville County. He has worked with a second chance program at Cornerstone Christian Church.
Laursen also worked on the Steering Committee for Leadership Granville. He received the John Penn Award from the chamber of commerce and worked as a Red Cross volunteer during disasters.
“He has made no cost home repairs for those that are in need and that embodies the spirit of the late Robert O. Blackwell,” the Rev. Dr. Tony Cozart said said.
The award is named for the Rev. Blackwell, who was also a Granville County Deputy Sheriff. Blackwell “was always a person that could bridge over differences between people. He saw people for who they were. He was always thinking of someone else,” Cozart said.
Cozart added: “This spirit of community, this spirit of wanting to help is something the Human Relations Commission found it necessary to make sure we recall on an annual basis with the Robert O. Blackwell award each year.”
Molly Thorpe and Polly Royster were recognized for outstanding service for assisting with the development of the annual breakfast.
Program includes youth essays
The annual essay contest winners included Mattie Terry from Webb, who won first place in the high school division, and Ethan Adcock from Northern Granville, who won first place in the middle school division.
Adcock read his essay about the similarities between King and himself. A tearful Terry said that her essay discussed how King struggled with college and how to pay for college without being in debt.
Ethel Anderson, a member of the Human Relations Commission, said she was moved by what was written by “our young folks, our future leaders.”
Anderson said Terry’s essay discussed topics that our today’s young people are struggling. She said older generations are here to help kids overcome these challenges.
“Terry is already looking in the future, saying ‘Here is what I want to do. Can I do it? What do I need to help me do it?’
“It is going to take everyone out there to help this generation to get them where we need to get them to and that challenge goes out to everyone. We have her back. We are going through this together. This is what Dr. King centered us to. We are in this together. We can make a way out of no way.”
The Human Relations Commissions also made a donation to Area Congregations in Ministry.