Snow flurries, a biting wind and temperatures well below freezing were no match for the warmth and the passion that came from inside First Missionary Baptist Church Monday as an overflow crowd gathered for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service.
Folks of various races, backgrounds and ages celebrated the life of Dr. King. This year’s theme at the church on Natchez Street was “Continuing the Dream — What’s Next?” Featuring several speakers — some reflective and others quite fiery — and lively and upbeat music, the service lasted about an hour and a half and culminated with a walk of several blocks to the Franklin town square and historic courthouse.
“We’ve come a long way, but there is still much to do,” said Franklin Community Church Pastor Kevin Riggs, who led the service and is on the committee that plans it each year.
“We may not be able to change what’s going on in Washington, D.C., or in Philadelphia, but we can change what is happening in Franklin and Williamson County,” said First Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Timothy Gaines.
Speakers spoke to the theme and gave their perspective on what is next in continuing the dream. Featured were Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey; Marcia Allen, city of Franklin Planning Commissioner; Minister Howard Garrett from Bethel Missionary Baptist Church; Minister Carol Overton from John Wesley United Methodist Church; and Minister Luis Sura, who delivered the closing prayer in both English and Spanish.
Music was provided by Michael Ricks, who performed a song he co-wrote titled “Fighting for Their Day,” Quintavious Johnson and the FMBC Mass Choir.
After the church service, most of the attendees marched the five or so blocks to the Franklin square and heard closing words from Franklin’s Ralph Thompson of Green Meadow Church of Christ in Shelbyville.