On the second day of the kick-off of King Week 2009, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the SCLC Dream Foundation sponsored the annual Multi-Faith Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, January 10, at Holman United Methodist Church.
Over 200 community members, business and religious leaders, elected officials, and others packed the church's main assembly area and were treated to a sumptuous breakfast sponsored by the SCLC and their sponsors which included Broadway Savings Bank and breakfast patrons including the SEIU United Health Care Workers, SMS Transportation Services, RFP Insurance, the Southern California Ministerial Alliance, Mothers In Action, HIS Sheltering Arms, and others.
Rev. Eric Lee, SCLC President and CEO, presided over the early morning event organized by Wendy Gladney and the staff of her event management company, Personal Services Plus.
In addition to the buffet style breakfast, the event featured a keynote address provided by Bishop L. Daniel Williams, president of the Baptist Ministers Association and pastor of the New Covenant Baptist Church in Norwalk, as well as remarks from representatives of the B'hai, Buddhist, Christian and Jewish Faiths.
Rev. Lee's welcoming remarks reflected on the celebrations commemorating the national holiday observance of Dr. King's birthday including the kick-off celebration at the Los Angeles City Hall steps the day before, the Business and Community Mixer, the Town Hall Forum on the "Failure of Public Education," and the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Dinner Celebration slated for Thursday, January 15, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
"The Multi-Faith Breakfast," Lee said, "is an opportunity to display the common ground of all religions."
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa extended his personal greeting and welcome to those in attendance in addition to a number of other local elected officials who were on-hand including; California Assemblymembers Mike Davis and Curren Price, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Los Angeles City Councilmembers Jan Perry and Wendy Gruel.
Civil rights legend Rev. James Lawson, who spoke of his meetings, marches, and conversations with Rev. King, shared some of his personal recollections and memories of the civil rights icon. "Martin Luther King was one of God's great prophets, in addition to being a civil rights worker." Lawson said.
Bishop Williams delivered a moving message as the keynote speaker. He noted that he was substituting for Bishop Kirkland and that because he had experienced numerous substitution assignments in the past, he had come to be known in some circles as Reverend Substitute.
On a more serious note, he talked about the breadth of God's community and the breadth of God's reach and influence. He stated. "God's judgment will not measure how many times we met at the meeting place (church) but what we did (away from church)." He also said, "My God is a God of the world and everyone is important to him, regardless of their religious denomination."
Paul Hudson, Broadway Federal Bank CEO, and his father, former CEO Elbert Hudson, past chairman were seated in front of the podium at one of the tables sponsored by the bank. The younger Hudson said. "I think today's multi-faith breakfast is an important event to start the King Week Celebration and I am impressed with the manner in which many faith communities come together. It is an event that Broadway Federal Bank sponsors every year."