Ebenezer Baptist Church honors MLK’s sister, Dr. Christine King Farris | local religion
Ebenezer Baptist Church held a special church service to commemorate the 95th birthday of the oldest congregant in the history of one of Atlanta’s oldest churches.
When Dr. Christine King Farris, a former Spelman College professor, Atlanta Public Schools teacher and author, entered the sanctuary, the congregation, the Spelman College Glee Club Ebenezer church choirs greeted her with songs. and applause.
The older sister of the late civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Farris, had been baptized into the church and is therefore its longest continuous participant. A former choir member, Farris watched her grandfather, father and younger brothers – Dr King and the late Reverend Alfred Daniel Williams King – preach from the same pulpit as the church’s pastors.
His mother, the late Alberta Williams King, director of the choir for over 20 years. Ebenezer Baptist Church is home and what better place to celebrate a birthday than home.
Reverend Sen. Raphael Warnock (Ga.-R), the fifth pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, spoke about the big sister/little brother relationship between Farris and his brother “ML.”
‘Thank goodness for big sisters,’ Warnock said as he told the biblical story of baby Moses placed in a basket and sent down the river by his mother to be found by the king’s daughter and raised once more in the palace by his mother. . Moses’ sister watched the baby float down the river but never took her eyes off him, Warnock said. “Thank goodness for Dr. Christine King Farris, the longest serving member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church,” he said.
“If people who are 25 were as strong as Dr. Christine King Farris was at 95, the church would be much better off.”
Farris’ niece, Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center, then took the microphone and spoke about her aunt’s work in establishing and helping to run the King Center as Vice President and Treasurer. many years ago after the murder of his youngest brother, the centre’s namesake.
“We are here today to obviously celebrate 95 years of life, a woman of strength, a woman of grace, a woman of dignity, elegance, resilience, faith and great integrity and inspiration,” King said. . “A woman who served the King Center for 51 years.”
King added, “We love you, happy birthday, God bless you and may you go on living 95 more years.”
Andrew Young, former US Ambassador, Mayor of the City of Atlanta and confidant of MLK, took the opportunity to sing I Love Everybody in My Heart when he had the chance to speak. Young has been a friend of Farris and the King family for decades.
Farris was seen as a tight-lipped woman by many attendees, but her work as an educator and author continues to enlighten and entertain. She occasionally read her book “My Brother Martin” to visitors to the King Center. Judy Forte, Superintendent of Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, presented Farris with a golden crystal as a birthday present and said, “I promise that we will treasure your stories and tell them faithfully for future generations. ”
The Spelman Glee Club sang their rendition of Wade In The Water and got everyone on their feet.
Performances by Ebenezer Baptist Church psalmist Tamika Patton-Watkins, gospel artist Angel Taylor Capehart and former Spelman College music teacher Laura English-Robinson were highlights of the church service.