Mary Baldwin Host 26th Annual Martin Luther King Community Vesper Service

January 23, 2017

In celebration of Mary Baldwin University’s 175th anniversary, President Pamela Fox challenged the MBU community to engage in 175 Acts of Good during the 2016-17 academic year. The initiative continues to inspire faculty, staff, and students to cultivate community service concepts throughout the new semester.

The newest addition to the movement happened after Mary Baldwin University presented $1,128 to the Valley Mission collected at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. service on January 16.  The Valley Mission is a non-profit organization offering shelter, support, hope and spiritual guidance to the homeless.

Every pew in the Central United Methodist Church in downtown Staunton was filled shoulder to shoulder with community members and Mary Baldwin students, faculty, and staff in a combined celebration

Anointed Voices of Praise performs at MLK service

of the 26th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Vesper Service.

The service is organized by Mary Baldwin University in collaboration with the Staunton Branch of the NAACP, and is a tribute to the late King’s life and legacy. Mary Baldwin’s own the Rev. Edward A. Scott presided over the service and both music and tributes to King were presented throughout the night.

President of Minority Clubs United for MBU Diamonque Anderson ’18, reminded the audience that by their attendance at the service they were social activists in their own right, and in the coming year to keep in mind the services theme to: remember, celebrate, act.

Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President Aaleya Joe ’17 welcomed the audience on behalf of the SGA Executive Committee and the university. Joe noted that if King were still alive he would no doubt be happy to see the service that evening.

“I know Dr. King is looking down from heaven right now and smiling at this,” Joe said.

Mary Baldwin’s Anointed Voices of Praise and along with the Al Hamilton Community Choir performed vocal selections while MBU’s Greater Things Dance Ministry, performed an interpretive dance. The Al Hamilton Community Choir has been a part of the service every year since its creation 26 years ago. The choir is composed primarily of Staunton residents representing numerous Church denominations in and around the Staunton area, there are some members from surrounding areas.

Brooke Snyder ’18 read scripture from the Old Testament book of Amos in traditional Hebrew for the service. Snyder is a member of MBU’s QUEST program. QUEST participants are from multiple faiths as well as some seekers not affiliated with a particular religious community.

President of the SGA Megan Edwards and Staunton Mayor Carolyn Dull made proclamations for MLK day for the city and Edwards invoked a call to action for the Staunton community to make Martin Luther King Jr. day

SGA President Megan Edwards

an official day dedicated to community service.

The service ended with the entire sanctuary standing, clapping, and singing This Little Light of Mine.”

Further MBU sponsors for the service include: The Office of Inclusive Excellence, Minority Clubs United, Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.