Martin Luther King Day at Shiloh: "We Are All Connected."
Civil Rights icon remembered with prayer, words and music
It was the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Day, but the Rev. Marcia Theadford wasn't looking to the past, but to the present.
Speaking to the congregation at the Greater Shiloh Church on Easton's South Side, she reminded them of King's work on behalf of the poor, and the work that still needs to be done.
"A lot of us are just one paycheck away from homelessness, and Lord help the ones who don't have a check," said Theadford, pastor of the Agape Christian Center. Her talk centered on the idea of "shalom," a Hebrew word that means "peace," but also encompasses other ideas, such as wholeness and unity, and the notion that "we are all connected."
Her passionate speech -- one in which she called for Eastonians to be a "real presence" in their community -- was the cornerstone of Shiloh's King commemoration, a yearly blend music, prayer and speeches, from both religious leaders like Theadford and political ones like U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, Mayor Sal Panto, and Northampton County Councilman Ron Angle, who liked King to Jesus Christ.
"His work was out on the road," Angle said. "Short time here, great job. It's good to know he's home with the lord."
Dent had just come from the dedication of a memorial to King and his wife Coretta in Allentown, and spoke of a similar monument underway in Washington, near several other revered destinations.
"Having the memorials for Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and King all in the same place...I think that's important for this country," Dent said.
Panto connected King to the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy -- whose name drew applause -- and said both men shared the same ethos: Kennedy's "Ask what you can do for your country," and King's "What have you done to help others?"
"He always asked that question, because engaged communities are good communities," Panto said.
And Theadford returned to that idea later in the day, talking about how the community needed to be a "radical" one, meaning one that doesn't accept the status quo.
"A radical community changes the table," she said.