By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson/Marlborough – A weekend full of activities to celebrate Martin Luther King Day culminated Jan. 21 at Grace Baptist Church in Hudson with a breakfast emceed by state Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow.
“It's a great honor to participate in honoring the memory of Dr. King in Hudson with this second annual weekend of service and celebration,” she said in her opening remarks. “The King holiday should highlight remembrance and celebration, and should encourage people everywhere to reflect on the principles of nonviolent social change and racial equality as espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.”
The celebratory weekend began the morning of Jan. 19, with a day of service, coordinated by Lynn Faust. The event was modeled after the monthly Second Saturday at Grace Baptist Church, for which Faust serves as the volunteer manager. After meeting at the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson, the volunteers did chores to help people who could use assistance.
“Like Second Saturday, volunteers could come and choose a job, and we sent them out throughout the community,” Faust explained. “Many people that are really in need are disabled, elderly, or poor for reasons they didn's create. Going out and helping these people really helps to correct the injustice.”
Among those attending the day of service was state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton.
A new feature was added to this year's celebration that evening: a free movie screening at the Unitarian Church. The film chosen was “The Long Walk Home,” which is set during the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala.
The celebration continued Jan. 20, during services at six churches in Hudson and 11 in Marlborough, with sermons proclaiming King's message. Temple Emanuel in Marlborough participated with its evening worship Jan. 18.
The Rev. Stephen Shick, an event co-chair, shared King's message that morning as senior minister at the Unitarian Church.
“Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to move beyond just a tolerance; he wanted a true acceptance,” he said.
Shick is hopeful for even more community involvement next year.
“I would love to see religious congregations of all faiths bring their members to this event,” he said. “We'se about building a community where the differences in how we worship are not important. What unites us is how we can serve the larger community.”
Another new feature was added to the holiday breakfast, explained George Luoto, the other event co-chair.
“We decided to recognize individuals and organizations that have done a lot in terms of the spirit of community service,” he said. “And we want to continue doing it after this year.”
Citations from the governor were given to three honorees, beginning with the Service Learning Project of Hudson Public Schools. Giving an example of their accomplishments, Hudson High students Tom Whiting, a junior, Kevin Ducey, a junior, and his brother, Andy, a senior, presented an overview of a service project that benefited a human trafficking awareness cause. Todd Wallingford, curriculum director, accepted the citation.
Ann Marie Louren accepted a citation on behalf of the volunteers who maintain the Hudson Food Pantry. A citation was also presented to Toni Wolf, executive director of Employment Options, a Marlborough-based nonprofit agency that provides mental health rehabilitation services.
The event is cosponsored by the Committee to Honor Martin Luther King and the Greater Marlborough-Hudson Interfaith Association. Dr. Michelle Cromwell was the keynote speaker. Vocalist Carolyn Waters performed.
On behalf of the committee, Hogan said, “We look forward to this becoming a robust annual event, celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, his good work, the good works of our community, and a bright future for us all.”