Rock to the Future Celebrates MLK Through Communal Church Cleaning
Each year, schools, banks and other institutions do not open to pay respect to the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday in MLK’s name is given for the purpose of paying it forward and amalgamating communities closer together. While many spent their days home from work relaxing, some organizations observed the holiday out in the community and with cleaning supplies in hand.
Members of nonprofit organization Rock to the Future, volunteers from the community and others from Bryn Athyn-based New Church Live cleaned, organized and freshened up St. Michael’s Church (2141 E. Cumberland St.) on MLK Day for the second time.
Rock to the Future has provided youth with free music education for the past seven years. The organization houses their programs in St. Michael’s Church, so the day off allows members and volunteers to put time in to help the church that helps them.
“MLK Day is a day of giving back to the community and supporting people that you don’t have time to support,” said Rock to the Future’s Executive Director Jessica Craft.
More than 20 adults and children did their part to reorganize book shelves, vacuum the church carpets, weatherize windows and scrub floors. Rock to the Future students also performed New Church Live’s MLK Day of commemoration at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center in Bryn Athyn on January 15th, the day before the scheduled service day.
The entire service was intended to not only honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., but also share his ideal of “The Beloved Community,” a communal commitment of nonviolence and goodwill. According to Chuck Blair, New Church Live’s senior pastor, an ideal can’t just be said, but has to be embodied through service.
“We’re too busy fighting against each other that we forget what we are fighting for,” said Blair. “Charity unites doctrine.”
Jessica Carswell, a member of New Church Live, brought her seven-year-old son, Huck, down to help out at St. Michael’s. When asked what Huck knew about MLK, he told Spirit News that King made it permissible for black and white people to drink from the same water fountain. When asked if that was important, Huck responded, “Yes.”
Huck went off to play an acoustic guitar, but having children be present to volunteer for a community is beneficial for their future, according to Craft.
“It’s great to get kids involved when they’re young in volunteering… growing up already giving back to the community,” said Craft. “When I was growing up, my parents would take us to various places just to help out. Experiences like that lead to a community that is supportive and helps each other.”
Whether you are a just a kid or have a legacy like MLK’s, Craft stresses there is an impact that can be made on any day.
“Especially with everything that is happening in the U.S. and the world, there is a lot of uncertainty. Just remembering that not that the big issues are important, but to remember more micro level that you can have an impact in your own community or in communities that are close to you,” said Craft. “Everyone should not just take the time to give back not just on MLK day, but know that people need help all year around.” •