Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
has special significance for Wayside Christian Mission. Wayside was the first rescue mission south of the Mason-Dixon Line to be integrated. Wayside's founder, Rev. Richard Anderson, took the hard and sometimes costly stand
as the Mission was developing during the late 1950's. One community member actually told Anderson if he would keep the mission "all white" he would make a $7,000.00 donation. Anderson stuck to his belief that as a Christian Mission we should have no part of segregation and turned down the very sizable gift for the day.
This is one reason we have a special event at the Mission to remember the activism of Dr. King. On Monday evening we facilitated a service of rememberance of the slain civil rights leader. The service
began with prayer followed by the rendition of the "I have a Dream" speech, which was skillfully and emotionally performed by one of the Mission's own homeless men who is also a member of our recovery program. Several clients read Dr. King quotes as the crowd of about 150 homeless clients from Wayside and other agencies reflected on the words and their meaning then and now. Rev. Al Herring, pastor of Church of the New Covenant (see picture above)
in Jeffersontown, presented an inspirational sermon. When Dr. Herring was invited to speak at the event again this year, he stated he could think of no better way to spend the holiday than with the people at the Mission. Following the inspirational sermon, the Mission's "Down by the Wayside Choir" performed several Gospel selections, then led the crowd on a candelight vigil
from the new, Jefferson Street Men's Campus to the Market Street facilities.
Many clients were touched by the service and younger clients were able to learn about the stuggles of the early days of the civil rights movement. Dr. King fought for the oppressed...not only the racially oppressed but also the economically disadvantaged. In a very real way today the Mission continues the battle that someday we all hope "we shall overcome".