Changes are coming to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march and celebration this year.
Traditionally, the annual event has rotated between Broadway Baptist Church, First Baptist Church-Highland Street and First Baptist Church-Lexington Avenue. For the 2013 celebration, however, organizers chose First United Methodist Church, 204 S. Main St., as the host church. The Rev. James Williams will lead the ceremony at 6:15 p.m.
The march begins at the Clark County Courthouse at 6 p.m. and participants will walk to the church together.
“This will be the first time we ever had it at a Methodist church, or a different denomination,” Ronda Simmons, event organizer, said. “Even though we all serve one God, things are different within the denominations, so it will be interesting.”
In years past, Simmons has organized the event with Angela Berry, but the pair decided to seek more input this year, to keep the service fresh and interesting. A committee was formed, which led to the new venue, as well as changes to the community choir.
Chad Higgins, performer with In Spirit and In Truth, will lead two rehearsals for anyone interested in participating in the choir, Jan. 17 and 18 at 6:30 p.m. at First Methodist. Carol Anne Wilson of First Baptist-Lexington Avenue also will lead one song.
Simmons said she is excited about the different styles the two musical directors will bring, “so everybody in the choir will feel comfortable with the music.”
Although the ceremony follows the same format each year, Simmons said the goal is to bring in new pastors or musical performers to add fresh perspectives.
“We try to keep it different so everybody will experience something new each time,” Simmons said.
Previous keynote speakers include the Rev. Samuel Peoples and the Rev. John Owen.
There will be an essay contest held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, judged by Ann Humble.
All middle and high school students are invited to submit a 500-word essay with the theme “Moving beyond the dream to brighten the future.” Essays may be mailed to Win-City Productions, attn. Ann Humble, P.O. Box 4263, Winchester, KY¿40392. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in both the middle school and high school divisions.
“We want to give the kids an opportunity to learn about history — red, yellow, black and white, it doesn’t matter. It’s part of everyone’s history,” Simmons said.
Simply Redeemed, a liturgical dance group from Lexington, will perform. Liturgical dance has always been part of the event, but Simmons said the committee decided to bring in a new group. In previous years, local step dancers have performed, as well as students from Dancer’s Pointe.
“We are thoroughly pleased with the support people are giving us and coming out,”¿Simmons said.