Fit for a King
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accepted the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, he said:
“Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace. … If this is to be achieved, man must evolve — for all human conflict — a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Ala., to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are traveling to find a new sense of dignity. …
… I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
… I still believe that we shall overcome.”
Forty years later, in communities across the country, people still come together each year to honor the spirit of those words. To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Asheville-Buncombe Martin Luther King Association has planned a full weekend of events. The festivities begin Friday, Jan. 16 at 4 p.m., with a Youth Celebration at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place. The winner of the 2004 Martin Luther King Youth Award will be recognized, and featured performers will include the famed Hillcrest Marching Band and High Steppers, the Riverlife Church youth dance group, and the Angels of Light dance company.
The 23rd annual Prayer Breakfast happens Saturday, Jan. 17 in the Grove Park Inn’s Grand Ballroom. More than 1,000 area residents are expected to gather at 8:30 a.m. to hear the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a longtime civil-rights leader who’s the newly elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The breakfast ranks among the region’s most diverse community gatherings each year.
On Sunday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m., the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, an ecumenical group of local pastors, will hold its annual Interfaith Service at Brown Temple CME Church (32 Phifer St.).
The annual Peace Walk starts at noon on Monday, Jan. 19. Marchers will gather at the St. James AME Church (at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and College Street) and walk to City Hall to hear speakers and music honoring King.
That evening at 6 p.m., Nazareth First Baptist Church (146 Pine St.) will host the annual Candlelight Service to present the 2004 Martin Luther King Award. St. James’ pastor, the Rev. Wanda Howell, will be the featured speaker, and the Reynolds-Miller Chorale will perform.
And finally, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Warren Wilson College is sponsoring a free public event, “Alive and Kicking: The Legacy of Civil Rights.” The program will include a screening of the short documentary Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks (which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003) and a panel discussion.
Tickets to the Prayer Breakfast ($18 adults, $12 children 12 and under, $30 patrons) are available at the YMI Cultural Center (39 S. Market St.), New Mount Olive Baptist Church (2 Herman Ave.), the United Way (50 S. French Broad Ave.), the Salvation Army Thrift Store (45 Rankin Ave.), Jolie de Shea’s Hair Design (295 Haywood St.) and through committee members. All other events are free.
For more information, call Oralene Simmons at 281-1624 or 777-0284.
— Lisa Watters
One moment at a time
Many of us strive to live more consciously. But a little bit of guidance can sometimes nudge us along our chosen path.
An upcoming series of workshops — titled “Mindfulness, Meditation & Our Spiritual Selves” — aims to help participants cultivate nonjudgmental, moment-to-moment awareness. The series is sponsored by Holy Ground, a small, interfaith nonprofit based in Asheville.
The workshops will explore the concept of mindfulness, several forms of meditation, and how incorporating those practices into our daily lives can help further our own spiritual journeys. The series includes guided meditations, yoga, inquiry exercises, silence and group dialogue — all aimed at allowing participants to cultivate skills for deep listening or “listening with the heart.”
It’s not all listening, however. Participants are also asked to commit to practicing meditation and inquiry at home during the eight-week period.
“I think that it’s a good way to begin the year, in terms of intentionality and helping people be grounded in themselves,” offers Holy Ground Associate Director Noel Nickle. “And it really combines several components of what Holy Ground is about, in terms of the meditative piece and the spirituality piece.”
Dr. Lindsay Bridges, an Asheville-based family-practice physician, will serve as the series’ facilitator. A student of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s model of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Bridges completed the professional Internship and Teacher Development Intensive through the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
The Thursday-morning workshops will run from Jan. 22 to March 11, 9:30 to noon at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville. The cost is $235 per person (some partial scholarships are available). Registration (limited to 20 people) must be received by Saturday, Jan. 17. For more info, call Holy Ground at 236-0222 or check out holygroundretreats.org.
— Tracy Rose