The Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council presents the 27th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Monday, Jan. 20, from 8-10 a.m., at the Crown Exposition Center. The theme this year is “Seize the Moment: A New Season.”
“This is the 27th year of the Ministerial Council sponsoring this event, and it has become somewhat iconic in the city,” said Dr. Maxie Dobson, president of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council. “We have the level of sustained support community-wise that we do, and I think that speaks to our community, (which) appreciates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he stood for, which are the principles we espouse.”
Dobson added that’s why the celebration is so well supported and probably one of the most popular events in terms of attendance in our city on an annual basis, and the event organizers are grateful for the support.
“We will have a great speaker, Bishop Kenneth Monroe … of Eastern North Carolina District A. M. E. Zion Church body, for the event this year. … And we are looking forward to him speaking under the theme, as there is a lot of excitement of him being a part of the program,” said Dobson.
“It is a time to not only celebrate but to reflect as we look at the theme that the organization has selected. … It somewhat speaks to if, in past times, opportunities have not been given attention, what you would have liked to (do).
“We can look at where we are now and examine ourselves and ask, ‘what is it can I do to contribute to my community?’ So, it’s in that context that we chose the specific theme for the 2020 breakfast.”
One of the things that is being done this year that is different is the expansion on the theme and engagement of the community beyond the holiday.
Dobson added that in the council’s communication to its sponsors for the 2020 breakfast included a form that would allow the sponsors to select a project that can be engaged year-round and not make the day of service effort just on the MLK holiday.
“Some organizations do different things on that day as a show of community support,” said Dobson. “We want to provoke expanding that to select something that can be done beyond that day and not necessarily every week, but something that can encompass the entire year.
“We are anticipating how that will be received by the community, and we have a board meeting to see what kinds of submissions that we have had so far,” said Dobson.
He continued, “That is an expansion of an element — engaging the community in service throughout the year to be a help and (supporting) what the organizations and individuals choose to do. We are looking forward to seeing how that evolves.”
The event will feature breakfast, entertainment, a speaker and an 8-year-old youngster who will recite speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “There’s a young man who comes well recommended, and he will recite different speeches by Dr. King,” said Dobson. “This will be a way of allowing the youth to be represented in the program, and we look forward to this highlight.
“We will have singers, but one of the things we want to do is expedite things so that we can be completed by 10 a.m.,” said Dobson. “We are very committed about doing that, so we may not have as much entertainment as we have had in some of the previous years.”
Dobson added that, like previous years, there will be music playing while individuals are eating breakfast.
The Fayetteville Cumberland County Ministerial Council began in 1957, and the organization is in its 62nd year. “It was birthed during the civil rights era, and it was to give attention to … (the fact) that we had to be a better community,” said Dobson. “They were faced with things like education, housing and the typical things that many communities were challenged with during the 50s and 60s.”
One of the primary things the Council highlights is the hard-earned right to vote and to encourage the community and the leaders of the faith community to engage their congregation to exercise their right. As a 501c3 organization, the Council is not allowed and does not become an advocate of any particular candidate, but it is an advocate of encouraging everyone who is eligible to vote to go to the polls and vote.
“One of the other things we do is to highlight opportunities for nonprofits to seek funds to pursue the community endeavors that they have become organized to do, and there is funding from different sources,” said Dobson. “So we have these kinds of discussions at our monthly breakfast meetings, which are the third Saturday of each month — except for the months of January, June and July.”
One of the primary outcomes of the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast is to fund 10 scholarships of $1,000 each to high school students who are going to college. “We take great satisfaction in the legacy that we have there and the number of students that we have been able to help over the years,” said Dobson. “I think that’s one component that the community appreciates very much and that they are contributing to that kind of objective and we look forward to doing that again in 2020.”
The Martin Luther King Jr. Worship Service is Sunday, Jan. 19, at 5 p.m., at Covenant Love Church. The guest speaker is Apostle Anthony Buie, pastor of St. Joseph Miracle Revival Center in Red Springs, North Carolina.
Ticket cost for breakfast is $20. The day of the event ticket cost will be $25. Sponsorship levels are available for purchase.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call Pastor Yvonne Hodges at 910-797-5879 or email Beverly Gibson at email@example.com. Visit the website at www.fayettevillemincouncil.org for more details.