The Carleton College community will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a candlelight service of remembrance and celebration, to be held in the Skinner Memorial Chapel on Sunday, Jan. 19. Guest speaker Reverend Oliver White will lead the service, entitled “Rediscovering the Image,” and the Carleton Singers, directed by Lawrence Burnett, will perform. The service begins at 5 p.m.; all events are free and open to the public.
Reverend Oliver White is the pastor of Grace Community United Church of Christ, a 20-year-old, predominantly African American congregation. 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 two thirds of the members to leave the congregation and forced Grace to leave its St. Paul premises. Despite the help of sympathetic donors, Grace Community UCC was forced to move out of its St. Paul premises last year. After drifting for close to a year, the congregation has recently found a new home in Clark Memorial United Church of Christ, as the two churches worship in partnership.
The Carleton Singers is a small, highly select vocal ensemble dedicated to performing a cappella choral music of all periods and styles. The ensemble is 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that will foster the study and performance of spirituals, hymns, gospel music and other significant published and unpublished choral compositions by African Americans.
For more information about this event, including disability accommodations, contact the Carleton College Office of the Chaplain at (507) 222-4003. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street between College and Winona Streets in Northfield.