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Martin Luther King Commemoration expresses unity and support

Walter Kendricks, pastor of Morning Star Baptist, preaches

Pastors of the Spokane Ministers Fellowship planned for the Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration service Jan. 14 to demonstrate their unity and support for the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center as it moves services to the East Central Community Center and picks up responsibility for services there.

“I dedicate my life to the center’s success to have amazing impact on children, youth and adults to keep the legacy of Martin Luther King alive,” said Freda Gandy, executive director of the center, which will offer many services under one roof.

“Martin Luther King Jr., was an angel.  Angels are messengers of God,” said Walter Kendricks, beginning his sermon for the Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration service Jan. 14 at Spokane’s Holy Temple Church of God in Christ.

Walter is pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church and president of the Spokane Ministers’ Fellowship Union.

“God receives me, just as I am, not because of my color, money or education.  Because I believe, I come to God,” he said.

Walter agreed to preach for the service because he believes in MLK’s words that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“I am angry about a lot, because I am impatient.  Many things King talked of, we are still in search of.  Here in Spokane we know the battles Pastors Kinlow, Watkins and Andrews have had.  We are talking about the same things today, but God remains God, and as long as I have breath and strength, I will spread the Gospel,” Walter said.

Spokane Community Choir was one group that sang at the service.

In seminary he learned it’s not what great theologians, televangelists or pastors say, but what matters is what God says.

“God has the final word,” he said.  “We need to be quick, but not in a hurry.  God’s voice cannot and shall not be silenced,” he said.

Walter read from Joel 3:1-3, 16, that God would bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, and gather all nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat to judge them, because God’s people and the land were divided.

“The Lord will roar, and the Lord will be shelter for his people and strength for the people of Jerusalem” he said.

“Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter,” Walter said, concerned about the nation.  “If we believe in God, we have to believe in right and wrong. The rhetoric and policies from Washington D.C. are wrong. Even so, God is still on his throne.”

Walter was meeting April 4, 1968, with a Boy Scout troop with boys of different races and economic standings, bound by their oath to do their best, to do duty to God, country and others. 

The scout master suddenly told them to hurry home. He expected there would be trouble, because Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis.

“Dr. King’s personal voice was silenced, but God is a good God and raises others to lift their voices in their generation and time to confront institutions of systematic racism, powers and principalities, and people,” Walter said.  “We misunderstand who we fight, so we fight each other rather than with the powers and principalities of evil that continue to suppress, oppress, enslave and subjugate.”

These actions in American history stand against the words of the founding documents, words of hope and dreams for Americans: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Inalienable” means that the rights cannot be taken away by the current President,” Walter said.  “The rights are given by God, not by a man, a government or a country.  You can’t take them away, no matter how many people are put in jail.  God will be the final judge.  The concept of right and wrong comes from God.”

Turning to the Scripture in Joel, Walter said that: “The day of the Lord is the day of judgment.  God is loving, merciful and forgetting, but God is also judgmental, jealous, righteous and indignant.”

So the day of judgment will be a day of salvation and judgment, gathering all the nations and judging them because God’s people have been scattered and his children sold, he said.

“God is at work.  We often take credit and ignore that God gives us strength and health, anoints and appoints us, and gives us the will.  There is a day and time God intercedes in the affairs of men and brings back those enslaved and brings all nations together for judgment, but God did not send his son to judge the world but to save the world.

“Many think we can do whatever we want to whomever we want however we wish, but the scattered will be returned.  The people have been displaced, the land has been divided, and many people are deemed throwaway people,” he said.

“We have prisons for profit.  Something is wrong when we put people in prisons and make a profit.  The system of bail is wrong and unfair.  If I’m accused of a crime, I’m to be presumed innocent until I’m proven guilty, but when people are arrested, bail is set so high they have to stay in jail,” he said.

Walter also challenged the bias in the justice and school systems.

“God will return sooner or later.  There will be a day for a decision.  God does not make the decision,” said Walter. “We make the decision by our silence. The voice of God is not to be silenced, muffled or ignored. 

“I call on America to no longer remain silent, but to keep striving for the goal of the songwriter who wrote, “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty‚Ķ from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

“I am thine.  I have heard thy voice.  Thank God for Martin, Harriet Tubman and others. Martin’s voice was silenced, but we work to put his voice in place and call for equality,” Walter said.

“As we strive to live to the ideals of King, we know we are not to judge based on the color of skin but to treat each other as family.

“We need to quit allowing Satan to divide us on racial, religious and political lines, while some have position, power and money.  We must not let voices be silent.  There are souls to save and people to feed.  We can do so much for Spokane and the nation.”

For information, call 455-8722.

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