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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events Set Sunday in Wheeling; Monday Events Canceled

File Photo - Members of Wheeling University’s Black Student Union march down Wheeling Hill during a prior Interfaith March For Peace And Justice. This year’s march is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday starting at the windmill atop Martin Luther King Way in Wheeling.

WHEELING — The annual Martin Luther King March and Interfaith Prayer Service is set for Sunday in Wheeling and will be in person once again.

Monday’s planned children’s events, however, have been canceled due to the expected weather conditions Sunday night into Monday morning. The activities will be rescheduled at a later date, MLK Committee members said.

The festivities to honor Dr. King will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, with a march from the windmill atop Martin Luther King Way to the foot of the hill. Masks are strongly recommended.

An interfaith prayer service, organized by the Rev. Paul Schafer of St. Mark Lutheran Church and Rabbi Joshua Lief of Temple Shalom, will follow at 3 p.m. at the Fourth Street United Methodist Church at 1060 Chapline St.

Clergy expected to participate include the Most Rev. Mark E. Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston; the Rev. Chris Figaretti, pastor of The Vineyard Church; the Rev. Kenny Hardway, pastor of the First Christian Church; the Rev. Erica Harley, pastor of Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Neil Leftwich, Northern District area superintendent, United Methodist Church; Lief; Schafer; the Rev. Jake Steele, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church; and the Rev. Yvette Taylor of Wayman AME Church. The accompanist will be David Alfred, Wheeling Park High School’s band instructor.

West Virginia Sen. Owens Brown, D-Ohio, will deliver the keynote address. Other officials, including Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and a representative from the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will make brief remarks.

As part of the Interfaith Service, four local residents will be honored for their work to promote racial harmony. James E. Martin, a postman and volunteer who works to improve the lives of East Wheeling residents, and the late Rev. Daniel R. Mason, former pastor of the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Triadelphia who spent years helping children to develop academically and socially, will receive the 2022 Martin Luther King Award.

This year’s Rosa Parks Award will go to Wheeling City Council member Rosemary Ketchum, who strives to help Wheeling’s most vulnerable residents, and the late Florence Washington, an active volunteer and medical professional who helped to establish West Virginia’s first pulmonary rehabilitation program. Announcement of the awards was made by Father Hadi Sasmita and Ron Scott, Jr., co-chairs of the MLK Celebration Committee.

Local and state dignitaries are also slated to offer brief remarks. After the service, there will be a brief reception with light refreshments.

Bethlehem Apostolic Temple in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Faith Assembly in Weirton will celebrate MLK Day Sunday, Jan. 16. In Wheeling at 11 a.m., the congregation will recognize new state Sen. Owens Brown, Mayor Daniel Dudley of Wellsburg and others. In Weirton at 1 p.m., the assembly will recognize Mayor Harold Miller. The Rev. Darrell Cummings will be the speaker at both services.

For more information, call the church at 304-233-8899 or Cummings’ cellphone at 304-639-8479.

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