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Campus Reflects on MLK Day and Presidential Inauguration

MLK

Campus holds special chapel service to honor Dr. King

CHICAGO, IL (January 21, 2009) – North Park University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on January 19 was made especially meaningful in light of the historical presidential inauguration the following day.

A campus chapel service on Monday featured Scripture readings and musical performances from the University’s Gospel Choir and Salem Baptist Church of Chicago’s Sons and Daughters of Levi. The ensembles united at the conclusion of the service, performing a spirited and moving rendition of a gospel favorite, “Total Praise,” that brought many to their feet and others to tears. Following the service, some 40 faculty, staff, and students donned T-shirts bearing the theme of the day, “Living a Life of Sacrifice,” and volunteered for the afternoon at Swedish Covenant Hospital, assembling and distributing care packages for patients.

During the morning service, Dr. Richard Gray, associate professor of leadership and Christian ministries at Asbury Theological Seminary, delivered a keynote address highlighting the life of Dr. King and how it helped pave the way for the nation’s first African American president. North Park University President David Parkyn also shared his reflections on the dream of Dr. King and a glimpse of its fulfillment in President Barack Obama, who visited the University campus for an evening lecture in Anderson Chapel five years ago, at the beginning of his senatorial campaign.

“We don’t claim that Barack Obama’s dream to be President of the United States started at North Park. But we can claim that one of the stops along the journey to this dream happened on our campus,” Dr. Parkyn expressed on Tuesday. The memory is significant, he added, in light of the University’s "distinctively Christian, intentionally urban, and purposefully multicultural" core values.

“We choose this identity because we believe that it is in such a place as this—where people gather under the name of God, supported in our learning and living by the strong hands of this world-class city, sojourn together from across America and around the world. It is in such a place as this that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream from yesterday can become America’s reality today and in many tomorrows,” Parkyn declared. “May we dedicate our lives ever more fully to ‘form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity’ in a land where all are created equal.”