There are many legacies in history, but there is one that has prevailed in importance and relevance: the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 

The year 2019 marks the 33rd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

This holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of every January. In 2019, MLK Day is today, Jan. 21.

But for some,the celebration of MLK begins long before the federal holiday. Suday, Jan. 20, saw a celebration in churches across America. 

Elon First Baptist Church celebrated in their own way for a Sunday service. Starting at 10:50 a.m., the congregation began a service for a packed church dedicated to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 

Rev. James H. Wilkes Jr. pastors the Elon First Baptist Church And highlighted what qualities MLK needed to persevere through adversity.

Elon University senior Gabrielle Beamon offered her thoughts on the importance of the service. 

“It’s always great to remember that we’ve come so far, we still have a far way to go,” Beamon said. “And I think it’s important for Pastors and things like that to recognize that.”

MLK is celebrated as a pioneering fighter for civil rights and social justice. Rev. Wilkes detailed how the same passion MLK possessed and needed can be found in today’s age. 

“He preached about mercy, and he preached about passion,” Beamon said. “I think that’s always important to remember because as things get difficult in the world, it’s always important to remember.”

Remembrance and recognition fuel a legacy, giving it strength as it passes from each generation. 

Passion is another source of fuel, and Elon First Baptist Church is a prime source of passion for some. The music and energy combined with vibrant creativity made a special service for those in attendance. 

Attendance was comprised of not only community members, but also Elon students and the university’s president, Connie Ledoux Book. 

Following the service, Elon First Baptist Church held a lunch that was open to the community to come enjoy fellowship. 

Student volunteers served fried chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, collared greens, rolls and peach cobbler. Sweet tea was offered to drink with the meal. 

Beamon acted as one of the student volunteers in serving the food. Beamon commented on her feelings towards service. 

“Realizing that I can do good things, even if it is little service or something, that’s a thing, and that’s important,” Beamon said. 

Beamon continued to speak about the connections of service and MLK, describing MLK’s dedication to service and how she hopes to help continue that dedication. 

Elon First Baptist Church offers many connections with its community. It encourages students and community members to come interact with them, offering a home with a second family. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to honor the legacy of a man who gave his life for a batter future. Elon First Baptist Church used the dedicated service to exemplify everything the MLK stood for. 

In doing so, they have explored their own strength, and have created a safe community for growth and joy.

The passion, remembrance and service of Elon First Baptist Church shows the hope for a better future. 

More information on how to get involved with Elon First Baptist Church can be found on their official website.