The New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence held its 14th annual Interfaith Celebration for Religious and Racial Harmony in partnership with St. Bartholomew’s Church, Sutton Place Synagogue and the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.
The early afternoon celebration began at 2 p.m. with words of inspiration at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York (96th Street and Third Avenue) by Imam Omar Saleem Abu Namous and Dr. Abdelkader Abbadi. Participants then traveled in two chartered buses to Sutton Place Synagogue (225 E. 51st St.) for welcoming words of inspiration by Rabbi Allan Schranz and musical selection by Heather Ganfer.
Congregants then made a silent prayer march to St. Bartholomew’s Church (51st Street and Park Avenue) for the last leg of the journey for interfaith services, which included uplifting choral performances and words of inspiration.
The congregants entered the massive St. Bartholomew’s Church with a “Walk of Peace” procession of drummers and musical greeting from a combined choir from King Emmanuel, Missionary Baptist Church, Nazarene Congregational UCC, Convent Avenue Baptist Church and Canaan Baptist Church. Opening remarks were delivered by Cliff Frazier, executive director of the New York Metropolitan MLK Jr. Center for Nonviolence, in addition to a welcome from the Rev. Buddy Stalling of St. Bartholomew’s Church and special guests.
The afternoon continued with the combined choir and an interlude with excerpts from Dr. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech, delivered on Feb. 4, 1968, and his “I Have A Dream” speech, delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, along with a musical selection by the P.S. 56 Children Chorus.
The celebration continued with words of inspiration by the Rev. Doyeon Park of the Manhattan Temple of Won Buddhist International and the Rev. Jesse J. Sumbry of King Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church.
The 14th Interfaith Celebration for Religious and Racial Harmony ended with a musical selection by United Nations Singers, guest speakers, closing remarks from Frazier and a musical finale, “We Shall Overcome,” sung by everyone in attendance.