Madison County pastor William Tremier stood at the podium at Waggoners Grove Baptist Church holding a dumbbell in his hands.
He urged those on hand for the ninth-annual Madison County Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration to “lay aside every weight” and to put their concerns in Jesus’ hands.
“We should all have a dream that one day we should see Jesus,” said Tremier.
The assistant pastor at Colbert Grove Baptist Church said that he wanted MLK services to include young people. And as he addressed the crowd as the featured speaker, the first Madison County Youth Mass Chorus sat behind him in the choir booth, having drawn applause from the crowd for its gospel singing.
Tremier addressed those boys and girls, speaking of the path that black Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. paved for today’s youth. He urged young people not to squander what was won through turbulent times, such as the right to vote. He urged youth to have respect for their elders, to say “yes mam and yes sir.” The educator and coach spoke of today’s drug problems, saying he has seen a little bit of a reduction in recent years, but he said gun violence has become a real blight on society.
Tremier urged the young people and the adults in the crowd to focus on “doing the right thing,” as Martin Luther King Jr. did.
“A lot of people hated him, but he stood for right and wrong,” said Tremier of King.
Tremier told the crowd that God doesn’t judge by skin color.
“Jesus don’t know color,” said Tremier. “We’re all going to the same place if you know Jesus. We’re all going to the same place if we don’t.”
Monday’s service included hymns by the youth chorus and the Madison County Pastor Layman’s Fellowship chorus. There were short addresses by several local preachers prior to Tremier’s speech. Deacon Garland Johnson noted that Americans are united no matter their color.
“Long ago we all came over on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now,” said Johnson.
The event organizers recognized several local government officials on hand for the ceremony, including BOC Chairman Anthony Dove, Commissioner Jim Escoe, Superior Court Clerk Michelle Strickland — who received a community service plaque — Sheriff Kip Thomas, Tax Commissioner Louise Watson, School Superintendent Allen McCannon and Colbert Mayor Chris Peck.
Event attendees also remembered the late David L. Sims Jr., pastor of Colbert Grove Baptist Church, who passed away this past year. His wife, Velma, received a plaque and a love offering from the pastors and took the podium to praise her husband and to thank those on hand for remembering him.