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St. Peter Claver parish legacy thrives at 30th MLK breakfast

Originally Appeared in : Vol. 100 No. 02

Three decades after St. Peter Claver Catholic Church first hosted breakfast to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., about 250 people gathered across the street Monday to break biscuits.

As the sun rose behind the parish’s brick tower that hoists a cross over Macon’s historic African American Pleasant Hill neighborhood, the True Faith Church of God in Christ kitchen staff was frying up sausage and scrambling eggs on the ground floor of the Vineville United Methodist Church.

Peter Claver parishioner Bud Fletcher was greeting folks at the door as he thought back to 1990.

“It was very small in the basement of St. Peter Claver. There wasn’t much room,” said Fletcher, who serves with 11 others on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Planning Committee.

On the round tables, placemats made by St. Peter Claver school students depicted some of King’s philosophy in colorful drawings.

“Thirty years. It’s a beautiful thing to see everyone gathering for Dr. King,” said the emcee, local journalist Charles E. Richardson.

He showed the diverse clusters of diners a video he produced that honored the launch and legacy of the now annual event rotating throughout the community.

St. Peter Claver’s former pastor Rev. Liam Collins and Richard Keil joined community organizer Billy Young to begin the gathering as a barrier breaker with a mission to follow King’s dream.

Current pastor, Rev. William McIntyre, OFM, delivered the invocation with the Prayer of St. Francis as a tribute to King’s values. He is pleased to continue the parish’s quest to minister outside its four walls to forge relationships with their neighbors.

“To help celebrate African American cultures and help people recognize their God-given dignity,” McIntyre said.

Squares of different colored paper on the tables invited participants to caucus with other members in the room who shared the same hue.

In keeping with the “Many Voices One Vote” theme honoring the 100th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote, the huddles of people spoke about strong women who made a difference in their lives.

Georgia Public Broadcasting host Leah Fleming chose to honor Coretta Scott King in the opening of her keynote address.

“Without a strong black woman by his side, Dr. King wouldn’t have been able to do anything,” Fleming said.

The highlight of the gathering for Sister Theresa Sullivan was when people of all creeds came together to sing “We Shall Overcome” with Rev. Evans Brown and his evangelist wife, Pearlie, of True Faith C.O.G.I.C. on Macon’s east side. “When we’re all holding hands and talking to people, there’s a sense of community because everyone is here in a spirit of love and justice.”

Liz Fabian is a journalist living in Macon and a member of St. Joseph’s Church. She may be reached by email at: lizfaBian@cox.net

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