By AMANDA GREENE
Religion News Wilmington
The Rev. Robert Campbell wasn’t sure who prompted the close to 350 people to attend Sunday’s interfaith Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ecumenical Service at First Baptist Church in downtown Wilmington.
But the pastor of New Beginning Christian Church said he was sure they all came because they wanted to see social change in their communities.
“What we need to recognize is our destinies are tied together,” he said. “Moses, Isaiah, Martin Luther King, Jr., you and I are anointed, empowered, sent, ordained to make a difference.”
Campbell was the keynote speaker at the annual service sponsored by the Wilmington Ministerial Roundtable and the Wilmington Interfaith Ministerial Alliance to honor the legacy of social ministry and change embodied in the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. The services are housed at a different Wilmington church each year. The groups began meeting about 15 years ago to improve race relations, cooperation and fellowship between area parishes, synagogues and mosques.
Before Campbell spoke, spiritual leaders from local mosques, synagogues and churches read Bible and Koran passages. The audience recited parts of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Blue-and-white-robed teen girls from New Beginning Christian Church’s dance ministry performed a liturgical dance for the crowd.
“We invite you, as Martin Luther King did, to light a candle in this world, and do what is right, and call out what is wrong,” said Imam Abdul Rahman Shareef, spiritual leader of Tauheed Islamic Center.
Campbell’s thoughts focused on empowering the audience to make a change.
“One of the things greatly impacting our community is our young black men are getting in trouble, getting a record, and when they come out of prison, they can’t get a job, and the cycle starts all over again,” the pastor said. “Anyone here ever need a second chance? We need to make a difference.”
Rabbi Robert Waxman, spiritual leader of B’nai Israel Synagogue, gave the parting words for the event.
“This is an election year, and in November, we must respond and vote to say, yes we can. Yes, we can make the former Virgo Middle School a center of learning again,” he said of a predominantly black school New Hanover County Schools closed last year because of low membership numbers and test scores. “Yes, we can make a difference.”