Events are planned Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the local Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
The theme for Lawrence's 14th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is "Reflecting on the Past, Looking Forward with Hope."
"We try to get a theme that would suggest not only the Martin Luther King dream, but to challenge the community to come together. That's been our objective," said the Rev. Leo Barbee Jr. of Victory Bible Church, 1942 Mass.
Victory Bible is a member of the Ecumenical Fellowship Inc., which is a group of predominately African-American churches that is a primary sponsor of local Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities.
This year's events will include a banquet and speech at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Kansas Union Ballroom.
Miles Jones, a Richmond, Va., pastor and professor, will be the featured speaker.
Jones also will speak at a special Martin Luther King Jr. worship celebration at 11 a.m. Sunday at Victory Bible Church. The service will consist of singing and praying, as well as a message, Barbee said.
Also on Sunday, a children's choir and an adult choir will perform at 6:30 p.m. at Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 31st and Lawrence Avenue.
On Monday, a Martin Luther King commemorative service will be held at 11:15 a.m. at the Lied Center of Kansas.
Officials from the city, county and university are scheduled to participate in that event.
The featured speaker at Monday's service will be the Rev. Raleigh Washington of Chicago, a board member of Promise Keepers, a Christian group that has organized large gatherings for men across the country.
Barbee said he has been encouraged by community participation in Martin Luther King Jr. activities in recent years.
"With the participation of the city and county leaders, as well as members of the community, it's been a real good groundswell, very positive," he said.
Barbee also said this is the second year several churches will be holding joint services on Sunday.
In addition to Victory Bible, other churches participating in Sunday's service will include First Church of the Nazarene, Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, First Regular Missionary Baptist Church, Calvary Church of God in Christ, and Praise Temple Church of God in Christ.
"This is something new we are starting, and it is our hope and prayer we can have more of our churches involved," he said. "This is another one of those kind of ideas to kind of work together as a community."
-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.