Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King's Ebenezer Baptist Church Aims To Keep Preacher's Spiritual Vision Alive

First Posted: 1/15/12 10:02 AM ET Updated: 1/15/12 11:53 AM ET

When the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock steps up to the pulpit on Sunday, he'll face a crowd of thousands in a worship service that marks no religious holiday and is rarely recognized outside the United States, but rivals Christmas and Easter as one of his congregation's biggest days of the year.

Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday has become a worship day across denominations in American churches, but at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King honed his oratory and found his spiritual fervor, the day takes on additional importance.

As he fields guests and television cameras, Warnock will honor the past and thrust his congregation, which sits down the street from the site of King's first home and the original Ebenezer building where he preached, into the struggles of the present.

"We don't want to just place King in biblical or historical perspective, but we want to give voice to the values he trumpeted in relationship to the issues facing us today," said Warnock, who has been the senior pastor for six years. "We are not a museum."

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