The Shiloh Baptist Church recently played host to a jammed packed gathering of residents and local officials who came together on Sunday January 17, 2010 during Shiloh Baptist’s weekly morning worship service to honor the memory of Dr. King in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest. On hand were elected officials such as Mayor Noam Branson, City Councilman James Stowe, City Councilman Richard St. Paul, Westchester County Legislator Vito Pinto. Also on hand were Judge Bruce Tolbert, Judge Katie Davison, Judge Gale Rice, and Judge John Galangalo. Due to conflict of scheduling Gov. David Patterson could not attend but was represented by his Community Liaison Richard Thomas who gave words of encouragement to the contestants. Dr. Lynn Perry Badinger was also in attendance.
Nine children competed in the church’s annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest organized by Sisters Maxine Robinson and Hon. Buenia Brown. There were three top-finalist winners, Jonathan Aris, Naomi Lambert and Aaron Simpson, who competed amongst eight semi-finalists in the Final Round. Reciting from memory on the topic, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream Becomes a Reality -Yes We Can!” the contestants were broken down in three groups: Group I ages (8-10) – Jonathan Aris, Jonaiya Doyle and Chance Greene; Group II ages (11-13) – Christophe Blades, Naomi Lambert and Jamilia Stewart; and Group III ages (14-17) – Derek Moses and Aaron Simpson. Cash prizes were given to the top three winners.
Sis. Beuina Brown, contest Coordinator commented, “It is very important for our young people to understand the sacrifices made and challenges faced by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he fought for civil and equal rights which we all are recipients of. It is his dream that we must instill in the young people who will be our future leaders…”
“We here at Shiloh believe that Dr. King’s birthday should be a day-on and not a day-off” the Rev. De’Quincy Hentz, Pastor of the church commented; “What better way is there to celebrate the achievements of this great public servant than to engage ourselves in public service?”
Following the MLK Jr. Contest, members of the Shiloh Baptist Church’s Missionary Ministry headed by Sisters Nancy Clayborn and Shirley Bullard partnered with It’syourturn.org, a five month old not-for-profit organization that involves themselves in community service and was founded in memory of Abey Varghese. “We are a group of College Students who for some time participated in public service and suddenly lost our dear friend Abey.” So, we decided in her memory to form a group called Ityourturn.org” Jaya Joseph, president of It’syourturn,org commented. The group distributed over 800 coats and 5,000 pounds of food to the New Rochelle community.
Photos By: Patrick Hogan