By Rita Howell
The pastor of one of Memphis’ largest congregations will return as the keynote speaker for Batesville’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration service on January 20.
The speech by Gary Faulkner, pastor of the Cumings Street M.B. Church, will culminate activities for the 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in Batesville. Faulkner spoke at last year’s observance in Batesville.
Events are again being coordinated by the members of the South Panola High School Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y Clubs and the Sardis District Ministerial Alliance.
The theme for the weekend is “Celebrating Community Through Service and Action,” according to Dr. Zannie Leland, chairman of the commemoration committee.
This year’s celebration of the civil right’s leader’s birthday will begin with a basketball jamboree on Friday, January 17 at 6 p.m. at the Batesville Junior High gym. On Saturday, January 18, an African American Business Luncheon is being planned at the Patton Lane Community Center from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
On Sunday, January 19 an MLK commemoration musical will be presented at the Sardis District Educational Building at 6 p.m.
Activities on the King Day holiday on Monday, January 20, will begin with a breakfast at Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 8 a.m. followed by a prayer service hosted by the Sardis District Ministerial Alliance. Everyone is invited to participate in this event.
At 9 a.m. participants in the commemoration march are asked to assemble at Mt. Zion Church. At 10 a.m. the group will march from the church through Downtown to the Batesville Intermediate School auditorium where Faulkner will speak.
He has served as pastor of Cummings Street for 18 years. The church has grown to more than 8,000 members under his leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Crichton College and has led his church in a commitment to foreign missions. Faulkner has traveled on mission trips to the Philippines and to Central America.
For information on the weekend’s events call: Dennis Hoskins at 934-6474 (basketball jamboree); Rhonda Leland at 654-0420 (business luncheon); Dr. Zannie Leland Jr., 563-3020 (march and program).
“We are inviting all city and county officials, ministers and individuals of all denominations and races to participate in this historical event,” Dr. Leland said.