The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Hill’s Center For The Arts on Sunday, January 15, included participation by 20 Pottstown area churches and synagogues and a community choir that included numerous Hill student voices. Service participants, in addition to the Rev. Dr. John Houghton, Hill’s chaplain, included Tiffany Gordon ’12 of New York, who sang a moving solo with the choir; Ben Walsh ’12, of Jeffersonville, Pa., vice president of the sixth form, who read King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”; and Raye Sosseh ’12, of Clarksburg, Md., president of the sixth form, who read King’s final speech, delivered soon before he was assassinated at the age of 39 in 1963. Read an article about the service that appeared in the January 16, 2012 edition of the Pottstown Mercury
Other essays and letters by King were shared by participating members of the local clergy.
The offertory was designated to help Pottstown’s Main Street Ministries, which assists homeless and low-income residents. Father Houghton announced that Hill’s Chaplain’s Discretionary Fund would double any funds collected. At last count, the total raised was about $3,600. The Rev. Kork Moyer, director of Main Street Ministries, emotionally accepted the contributions, noting that “In the middle of the night, in shelters [for the homeless], we see Dr. King” in the volunteers and others who step forward to help those less fortunate. “There are people who need our help so desperately and should not be cast away,” Moyer said. “We embrace Dr. King’s dream, and we thank you all.”
The Rev. Dr. Vernon Ross of Bethel A.M.E. Church thanked The Hill for lending its students and Stephen Longenecker, Hill’s vocal music director, to the service, hosted for the third time this year on our campus. He also asked Headmaster David Dougherty to share a few words.
The Headmaster noted that, in addition to King, another great man had a “dream” of a place that would inspire positive leadership: The Rev. Matthew Meigs, founder of The Hill School. “Meigs wanted to prepare young men – and now young women – for leadership, [inspired by] the words of our motto, ‘Whatsoever things are true,’ from the words of St. Paul,” Headmaster Dougherty said. He added that St. Paul’s words mirror King’s ideals of what is “true” and essential in creating a better world: love, respect, justice, freedom, righteousness, and hopefulness.
The standing-room-only service was attended by numerous Pottstown dignitaries, including representatives from Borough Council; Mayor Bonnie Heath; and members of the Pottstown School District administration and board.