Statesville Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Fran Farrer

STATESVILLE, NC – Using the 2019 theme of, “The Change You Want to See,” the City of Statesville has scheduled an exclusive lineup of events and activities to commemorate the 24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration.

Join in on the rock hunt during the days leading up to our celebratory weekend! Brightly colored rocks will be placed throughout our community spreading the messages of Dr. King. Follow the directions on the back of the rock to have your picture posted on our Facebook page!

Friday, January 18, 2019: Martin Luther King, Jr. Program from 6:30-7:3-pm at Shearer Hall, on the campus of Mitchell Community College, 500 West Broad Street. Jason Brown, once the NFL’s highest paid center, signing a five-year, $37.5 million-dollar contract in 2009 with the Saint Louis Rams, will serve as guest speaker. When he was released after the 2011 season, he had some re-examining to do, and believed God was calling him back to his home state of North Carolina to do some farming and help the hungry. The problem was, he had no idea how to run a farm. In October 2012, he and his wife Tay, bought what is now First Fruits Farm in Louisburg, NC, roughly halfway between Durham and Rocky Mount. After several years of incredibly hard work and a steep learning curve, Jason’s farm, which gives away thousands of pounds of food each year to the underprivileged and underfed of the eastern Piedmont region, is now fully functional, and his story - and the story of the farm - have been the focus of a number of television and radio programs, and a feature story in several local, regional, and national magazines. The Browns, a deeply religious family, take seriously what they see as their duty to carry out their mission to help those in need. Jason Brown is a big man with a big heart.

Saturday, January 19, 2019: A “Youth Talent Expo” is scheduled for 12 noon at the Unity Center, 1145 Salisbury Road, Statesville, NC 28677. The Martin Luther King Committee will serve as host of the Youth Talent Expo which involves: Creative Writing, Art, Spoken Word, Poetry, Stepping, Dancing, Singing and Cross Culture Activities. Everyone is invited to enjoy participating and encouraging youth to participate and display their different abilities. It is an open mic event, and all are welcome. For an entry form and rules please contact Myrah Lykes at (434) 579-4569, Tonya Reid at (704) 880-8559 or William Jones at (704) 876-6784.


Sunday, January 20, 2019, from 3-4pm, Worship Service is scheduled at First Baptist Church, 464 Garfield Street, Statesville. Speakers are: The Reverend H. Stephen Shoemaker who is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Johnson C. Smith University and is pastor at Grace Baptist Church. He is the former Senior Minister of Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte. Dr. Shoemaker is a M.Div. graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York City and earned a Ph.D. at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He has also served as pastor of Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, and Broadway Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, TX. Shoemaker has spoken and lectured widely, teaching as adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University and Wake Forest University Divinity School. An experienced cellist, Dr. Shoemaker served as principal cellist for the Stetson University symphony orchestra where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1970. He is the author of numerous articles and eight books. In the words of humorist Garrison Keillor, “Steve Shoemaker is a gifted preacher whose gift lies in narrative—telling stories of the faith—which is the most powerful preaching of all.”

In addition, the Reverend Glencie Rhedrick, an ordained Baptist minister, currently serves as an associate minister at First Baptist Church-West, where she leads the Bereavement Ministry and teaches an engaging weekly adult Bible study class. Additionally, she served as Interim Pastor for Life Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. A graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, Reverend Rhedrick received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with honors and a Master of Science Degree from National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois in Human Resources Management and Development with a concentration in Organizational Behavior. She also has a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Pastoral Care from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. She is certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains, a distinction that few African Americans have achieved. A local and national community activist, Rev. Rhedrick is the former president of Mecklenburg Ministries, an interfaith organization of approximately 100 houses of faith. Rev. Rhedrick is a humble woman of God. She is the proud mother of one son Justin and one energetic granddaughter, Marleigh. Refreshments will be served from 1- 2:30 p.m.

Monday, January 21, 2019: Doors open at 6am for the Community Prayer Breakfast at the Statesville Civic Center, 300 S. Center Street. The program is scheduled for 7-9am.

The guest speaker will be The Reverend Dr. Peter M. Wherry, a native of Buffalo, NY. He received his early education in the schools of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, graduating with honors from the St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He earned with honors, the Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Gerontology from Virginia Union University and the Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union both in Richmond, VA. He earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. As part of his doctoral studies, he traveled to El Salvador, Central America to study Christianity in Martyrial Perspective. Dr. Wherry also holds a Certificate in Church Management awarded jointly by ITC (Interdenominational Theological Center) in Atlanta, GA and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology in Richmond, VA. As pastor, he has led with great distinction several churches in both rural and urban settings. He was appointed by two VA Governors to the State Board of Juvenile Justice on which he oversaw a budget of over $160 million dollars, served as Chairman of the Non-Secure Services Sub-Committee, and has also served as a counselor for the VA Department of Corrections and member of the Department’s Central Classification Board. Dr. Wherry is in demand as a preacher and evangelist in numerous American cities, having preached from coast to coast in the U.S., and teaching internationally. On the first Sunday in March 2007, he became pastor of the Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC. Dr. Wherry is happily married to Dr. Wanda H. Wherry. The Wherry’s are the grateful parents of two adult children, Justin Michael (Amy) and Bethany Elise. They are also the proud grandparents of Amari Makayla and Amaya McKenzie.

Monday, January 21, 2019 will also serve as a “Day of Service.” The City of Statesville invites you to join in as we go out into the community and interact in areas where the needs are great. Donations of personal hygiene products, toilet paper, and knit hats, scarves and gloves will be accepted at the YMCA, Fifth Street Ministries, as well as at the breakfast. Donations of hand-knit hats and scarves are especially appreciated. Meeting our neighbor can be the beginning of strengthening relationships and meaningful dialog resulting in positive action. Please call Patti West at (704) 872-4045 for more information.