If one word could sum up the theme of the speakers at Saturday’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, it would be “change.”
The word, or the concept, was laced throughout the words of those praying and speaking Saturday morning at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church.
Organized and led by young men and women on the NAACP Bulloch County Branch Youth Council, the prayer breakfast was well-attended by community members and leaders of all ages and denominations for the purpose of praying for the community and beyond and encouraging tomorrow’s generation.
The guest speaker for the event was Statesboro native Jonathan McCollar, the senior community manager for the American Cancer Society, Realtor and recent mayoral candidate. He said he has a passion for his community and a desire to serve the public and be a voice for the voiceless.
McCollar told the young people in attendance – and the not-so-young – that now is the time to make a difference.
“If we are going to make this world a better place, we have to start where we live,” he said.
Of course, changing the entire world is an enormous challenge.
But, “we can change one person at a time,” McCollar said. “We can reach out in the community and give our children the kind of community they deserve. We can move our community forward together. Transition is tough. But with our God, we can do it all.”
The Rev. Wayne Williams, with New Beginning Outreach Christian Ministry, gave the invocation, extolling the power of prayer. Interspersed in the invocation and throughout the program were the values of peace, love and unity, echoes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s platform.
Musicians from Baby Grand Music Studio, under the direction of Robin Holmes Lanier, provided entertainment and a glimpse of the small hands, lifted in song and praise, who will lead in the future.
In his prayer for unity, the Rev. Matthew Lovett, with Magnolia Missionary Baptist Church, asked God for the strength to keep walking for freedom.
“Give us strength to remain nonviolent, even in times when we are face to face with the enemy,” Lovett said. “Grant that we wage the struggle with dignity and discipline.”
Lovett thanked God for past saints and prophets, with whom he numbered King, who taught the world to stand up amid the problems, struggles and trials of life and not give in.
In his prayer, Lovett spoke of the “proper faith and determination of will to make a creative contribution to this world.”
Lovett ended his prayer with these words: “Help us to seek that which is high, noble, and good. Help us work with renewed vigor for a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends race and color.”
In a prayer for children, the Rev. Patrice Jackson, with Scarboro Grove Church, prayed for the next generation.
“Crown them with knowledge and let us be role models for them,” she said. “Let dreams come forth in the name of Jesus. Instill courage in them that will allow them to reach outside the box of their culture and hold hands with others as they go into the future. Give them the resolution to be everything that you called them to be, to push past barriers.”
Jackson ended her prayer with words of hope and joy and a reminder that “not everything will be easy, but all things are possible through God.”