The Carleton College community will recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a candlelight service of remembrance and celebration, to be held in the Skinner Memorial Chapel on Sunday, Jan. 20. Guest speaker Reverend Oliver White will speak at the service about “A Love Ethic Grounded in the Gospel of Jesus,” and the Carleton Jubilee Singers will perform. The service begins at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a soup dinner; all events are free and open to the public.
Reverend Oliver White is the former pastor of Grace Community United Church of Christ, a predominantly African American congregation based in St. Paul, for over twenty years. The church “strives to be a light of hope in a community where there are many needs,” focusing on “homelessness, at-risk youth, and families living at or below the poverty level.” Oliver and Grace Community UCC gained national attention due to Oliver’s public support for same-sex marriage—he voted for a resolution favoring same-sex marriage at a national UCC conference in 2005—which caused many members to leave the congregation and led to financial woes for the church. Despite the help of sympathetic donors, Grace Community UCC was forced to move out of its St. Paul premises last year.
The Carleton Jubilee Singers are directed by Carleton music professor and choral director Lawrence Burnett, whose academic work has focused on African American spiritual music. Burnett was recently awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to create a website that will foster the study and performance of spirituals, hymns, gospel music and other significant published and unpublished choral compositions by African Americans. The Jubilee Singers explore a cappella spirituals and gospel music of the African American singing tradition.
For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Office of College Relations at (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street between College and Winona Streets in Northfield.