MidAmerica Nazarene University celebrates King’s legacy

MidAmerica Nazarene University welcomed the community of Olathe, its leaders and other dignitaries for the Seventh Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration during the university’s community Chapel.

The Rev. Charles Tillman, black ministries director for the Church of the Nazarene, brought greetings and inspiration as he reflected on changes in racial harmony during his lifetime. Commenting on the diversity represented by the MNU student body and Olathe community in attendance Tillman said, “Our country has gone through a marvelous transformation.”

Olathe Mayor Pro Tem Jim Randall brought greetings from the city stating that Olathe is a place where every person has a place to dream to grow and to achieve his highest potential.

“It is this spirit of unity we celebrate this morning,” he said. “Thank you for fostering that spirit.”

MNU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Leaders were honored during the program. These students of diverse ethnicity receive a Scholar Leader scholarship in honor of their academic excellence, participation in community service and campus leadership. The 2013 Scholar Leaders are Karla Davis, John-Paul Gillett, Estela Gingerich, Andrea Holt, Lantino Luna, Michael Teen, and Ryan Tink.

Chris Powers, coordinator for diversity and cultural competency at MNU brought a rousing speech inspired by Dr. King’s famous Lessons from the Mountaintop address delivered the night before King’s assassination. Powers lamented the King’s loss when “the soul of the cause drifted away.”

“I’ve struggled with why the [civil rights] leader was taken in the midst of the battle,” Powers said. “Moses didn’t enter the promised land…neither did King.”

Powers proposed that as others carry on the cause the promise will be in all of us, not just in one leader. Powers said King’s quote, “It’s always the right time to do the right thing,” can lead us today.

“Let’s be the change,” Powers said. “Let’s pioneer, by fulfilling God’s purpose.”

Reverend Alice Piggee-Wallack, founder of True Light Ministries and Emancipation Station Day Center in Kansas City, Mo., was honored by MNU with the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Living Legacy Award. Piggee-Wallack runs a shelter and a transitional home for women seeking a better life for themselves and their children. In ministry for 25 years, the social worker turned ordained minister has helped hundreds of homeless, mentally ill and substance abuse sufferers in Kansas City’s urban core.

“I don’t do this for recognition,” Piggee-Wallack said. “I do it because I’m called, because I’m passionate, because I love it.” Sponsors make the annual event possible. Proceeds from the event fund the Scholar Leader scholarship and diversity initiatives at MNU. This year’s sponsors include:

Unity Commitment and Presenting Sponsor Sprint Foundation

Faith Commitment City of Olathe Enterprise Bank & Trust Multicultural Ministries, Church of the Nazarene Olathe Medical Center Olathe Walmart Supercenter Precision Printing

Hope Commitment Kansas City District Church of the Nazarene Olathe Chamber of Commerce David and Donna Spittal

Freedom Commitment Johnson County NAACP Schurle Signs, Inc.

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