Annual MLK Jr. event postponed until Aug. 8 due to coronavirus concerns

Fay Neal, a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Glasgow, sits in a pew inside the church, which hosts an annual event meant to honor Martin Luther King Jr.
(BRENNAN CRAIN/WCLU NEWS)

GLASGOW, Ky. – An annual event honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. has been postponed until the late summer.

Fay Neal, a deacon with the First Baptist Church, said the event was postponed due to the risk of gathering during the pandemic. The march and service was postponed from Monday, Jan. 18 to Sunday, Aug. 8 at 11 a.m.

“We couldn’t figure out a way that we could have a service of the caliber that we’re used to having,” Neal said.

The event is hosted by several churches in the Liberty District Association and others across Barren County. Several people join for fellowship and the eventual service.

“We don’t want it to end up being a super spreader event,” Neal said.

The event generally begins at the Barren County Courthouse with an introduction and prayer, and those gathered then walk to the First Baptist Church for a service.

But the postponed service plans are different. Neal said the Aug. 8 event will begin with the service and then a march to the Barren County Courthouse will follow.

While the event began over 20 years ago, each year is a reminder of the community’s unity.

“It brings the community together,” Neal said, “all ethnicities.”

Last summer was marked with waves of racial protesting and calls for better practices across the nation regarding the treatment of Black citizens. Neal said he believes it’s important to instill in youth that maturing must include overcoming obstacles.

“You can’t go forward until you realize what was behind you,” Neal said.

Ray Woodie, pastor of Coral Hill Baptist Church, is scheduled to speak at the event.

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