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Song, inspiration in King tribute

Minister Mark Sanders gives invocatibefore MartLuther King CelebratiConcert MaBaptist Church Sunday January 20 2013 MaBaptist Church AurorIL.
  | Terence

Minister Mark Sanders, gives the invocation before the Martin Luther King Celebration Concert at Main Baptist Church on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at Main Baptist Church in Aurora IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 22, 2013 6:08AM

Main Baptist Church in Aurora held a tribute Sunday for the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Rev. King was doing things we sing of — love, peace, justice and harmony. Wave your hands in the air if you care … yeah, now I see you out there,” Minister Mark Sanders told the audience.

About 100 people filled the pews for the church’s 26th annual King celebration of gospel song and inspiration. The two-hour service, “The Dream Realized, Yet Not Fulfilled,” was led by Sanders.

The program featured a processional by the Voices for Excellence Community Choir that brought the youth of the church to their feet, while the older generation took video recordings from their smartphones.

Eighteen members of the young adult choir sang gospel music in honor of the civil rights activist, a Baptist minister who changed race relations in the United States beginning in the 1950s.

Cynthia Miller, coordinator for the Voices for Excellence, has memories of King when she was growing up as a young girl in the 1950s. A good memory was meeting the civil rights leader in her 20s at a Baptist church in Alabama. “It was inspirationally fulfilling,” Miller said.

Miller said she was in Tuskegee pursuing her degrees in education when King was assassinated in 1968.

Sanders, a former member of the choir, said the day was further celebrated with Sunday’s official swearing-in ceremony of President Barack Obama’s second term in office.

“Dr. King would be celebrating how far we have come, but he would also acknowledge there are many miles for us to go given the nation’s poverty, violence on the streets and home foreclosures — he would be very much concerned,” Sanders said.

“He would be gathering us to celebrate but also call our attention to the issues that need to be addressed,” Sanders said. “Yes, there is a sense of hope, but there should also be a sense of concern and focus before our time is up.”

The congregants recited a “memorial litany” that read in part: “Help us, Lord, to remember to celebrate and to act as 21 century servants embracing the dream of the great dreamer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For today, we can say that part of the dream has been realized with President Barack Obama, and efforts are being made to live in a nonviolent society.”

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