Published : Thursday, January 10, 2019 | 12:28 PM
Rev. Dr. John B. Bledsoe, outgoing President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and pastor of Pasadena’s Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 edition of the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration,” Pasadena’s major religious observance of the life and legacy of the great civil rights leader.
Rev. Bledsoe will challenge the new generation of leaders to continue working toward fulfilling Dr. King’s dream. The event will be held Sunday, January 20, 3:30 p.m., at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 2283 North Fair Oaks Avenue, hosted by Metropolitan’s pastor, Rev. Tyrone L. Skinner.
Inspirational music at the event will be provided by the 80-voice Santa Monica Emeritus College Gospel Choir, under the direction of William Bryant, who has a long history on the L.A. church music scene and has also toured with Marvin Gaye and other popular musicians.
The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a fellowship of more than thirty local pastors and ministers who are spiritual leaders in the community, has been sponsoring these annual local celebrations since the first year after Dr. King’s death in 1968. Rev. Bledsoe is retiring as President of the organization, after serving 15 one-year terms as the its President, which is longer than any other leader in the IMA’s history.
At the end of the celebration, the Rev. Dr. Larry E. Campbell, Pastor of First AME Church, will be installed as the IMA’s new President. After a 29-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer-5, Rev. Campbell served churches in Temecula and San Bernardino, before becoming the spiritual leader of the Pasadena congregation in 2014.
According to Rev. Bledsoe, the IMA’s goal is to remind the community that Dr. King’s vision was inspired by his Christian faith. “There will be many other ways of commemorating Dr. King’s life and influence,” Bledsoe said, “but we feel we have a special calling to emphasize his spiritual roots and the fact that his ministry springs out of the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.”
The event will be free to the public. Opportunity will be given to support the Ministerial Alliance’s “Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund” through a free-will offering. Each year since 1984, up to ten local high school graduates have been helped to start their college careers with grants from this fund.
Further information about the celebration is available at (626) 797-8970.