TARRYTOWN, N.Y. America needs a new vision of hope and determination, Rev. Erwin Lee Trollinger told a packed congregation at the Foster Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. He reminded them that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream has not yet been fulfilled.
Trollinger leads the Calvary Baptist Church in White Plains.
America has defaulted on its promissory note of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Trollinger said. But I refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.
More than 100 community residents gathered in the Wildey St. Church on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of King in an ecumenical service that brought together people of all faiths. Choirs sang out joyfully and stirred the congregation to singing, clapping and dancing.
We come together as one community on this holy day to lift our hearts and our minds in thanksgiving for the life and the ministry of your prophet Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rabbi David Holtz of Temple Beth Abraham said during the service's invocation.
Representatives of area churches participated in the service. Pat Evans of the United Methodist Church read aloud a speech given by King's wife Coretta Scott King about the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Calvary Baptist Church's Delores Washington recited Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise.
People continued to trickle into the chapel long after the service had started. Worship Leader Freida Smith helped people find empty seats and prompted some latecomers down to the front row.
Sometimes it's a blessing to be late for church, she said.
Trollinger praised King's legacy, describing him as a great American who challenged America.
This man was born into a system of judgment, based upon his color, his education and his social status, he said, later adding that King dared to challenge the system. He would not allow the status of second-class citizenship to be his final position in the land of liberty. This man was not ever going to let the system define him.
Although King broke barriers and led a revolution that changed the face of America, Trollinger said Americans of all colors, ethnicities and religions are still not completely free. Trollinger pointed to mid-education, materialism, gangs, wrongful convictions and poverty as signs that America has much to do before King's vision can be fulfilled.
Today we must demand full payment for everything America promised, he said.
Trollinger urged the congregation to embrace a new vision for America in the wake of King's legacy. He encouraged them to work toward freedom.
I have a vision that one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed that all men are created equal, he said.
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