2009-01-23 / Community

First Congregational Church At MLK Celebration

Attendees from the Rockaway church are pictured outside the Bronx church (Front row, L to R): Anna Bejian, Vivian Rattay Carter, Sylvia Robinson, Pastor Joseph Medlin, Deborah Rowe; and (Back row, L to R): Kathy Woods, Kelly Sessoms- Newton, and Lori Maguire. Attendees from the Rockaway church are pictured outside the Bronx church (Front row, L to R): Anna Bejian, Vivian Rattay Carter, Sylvia Robinson, Pastor Joseph Medlin, Deborah Rowe; and (Back row, L to R): Kathy Woods, Kelly Sessoms- Newton, and Lori Maguire. Eleven members of First Congregational Church of Rockaway Beach and their pastor, Rev. Joseph Medlin, joined in an observance of the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Bronx on Monday. The service was conducted by the Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ (UCC), and hosted by First Congregational Church of Morrisania. Highlights included performances of spirituals and hymns by the Safe Haven Ministries/Church of the Evangel Choir, marching songs from the civil rights era played by musicians from the Bronx church, and a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Geoffrey A. Black, New York Conference Minister of the UCC. Selected letters and prayers for President Barack Obama written by members of UCC churches in the New York area were read. The attendees from the Rockaway church particularly enjoyed the parting words in the service from Rev. Toni Walrond, who looked out at the diverse group, and exuberantly expressed her admiration for the UCC, hailing it as both "united and uniting." First Congregational of Rockaway Beach is proud that its diversity serves as a model of the extravagant welcoming spirit of the UCC.

Monica Sargeant, Lori Maguire, Sylvia Robinson and Deborah Rowe review the program prior to the service, with the stained glass windows of the historic Morrisania church, founded in 1851, in the background. Monica Sargeant, Lori Maguire, Sylvia Robinson and Deborah Rowe review the program prior to the service, with the stained glass windows of the historic Morrisania church, founded in 1851, in the background. Lunch was served after the ceremony. Rockaway participants enjoying the meal are (L to R): Rev. Medlin, Diane Gaertner and Liz Mitchell. Lunch was served after the ceremony. Rockaway participants enjoying the meal are (L to R): Rev. Medlin, Diane Gaertner and Liz Mitchell. Rev. Peter Dennebaum, who served as visiting pastor and was recently ordained in the Rockaway church, chats with Rev. Michael Caine, Southeastern Regional Minister of the New York Conference of the UCC, while Rev. Toni Walrond's son enjoys his "binky." Rev. Peter Dennebaum, who served as visiting pastor and was recently ordained in the Rockaway church, chats with Rev. Michael Caine, Southeastern Regional Minister of the New York Conference of the UCC, while Rev. Toni Walrond's son enjoys his "binky."

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