It seems fitting that Augusta's MLK Day celebration is taking place at a downtown church.
Festivities will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Junior on Monday at Augusta's First Presbyterian Church on Telfair Street.
“One of the things that we hope to do as a church is not build just a great church, said Reverend John Franks of First Presbyterian. “We want to be a part of building a great city. And so it's not just about what we do in here Sundays. It's what we can do to make Augusta a wonderful place to live for all people.”
The circumstances of the celebration are symbolic. Among the churches participating are parishes that are traditionally black and ones that are mostly white – but on this day, folks are hoping to look beyond these labels.
“Jesus Christ has broken down the barrier that brings about the hatred and the fear that exists between races,” said First Presbyterian Church Elder Sylvester Brown.
Race relations are still a problem across the country – including Augusta, Brown said.
“I think things are improving, I think things are getting better, but we have a ways to go.”
Brown says bridging the gap between races is a spiritual movement.
“Whites and blacks can have the dream that's just what Dr. King said. It's not about the color of our skin, but about the content of our character.”
Today's message is that it all starts here – with God.
“That's the message,” Brown said. “That it can be done, in Christ.”
Dance groups and a choir will kick off the festivities at 11 a.m. on Monday. The observance begins at noon sharp.