The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. often credited Mohandas Gandhi with teaching him methods for peaceably protesting social injustice.
On Jan. 18, the Progressive Religious Coalition will celebrate King’s birthday with its seventh annual interfaith service, titled Keeping the Dream Alive: Why Dr. King Still Matters.
The keynote speaker will be Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Indian civil rights leader.
“Jesus gave me the message, Gandhi gave me the method,” Sid Gates quoted King as saying.
Gates, a member of the PRC and one of the event’s organizers, said he is excited about Gandhi’s upcoming speech.
“This is going to be historic,” he said.
Arun Gandhi experienced discrimination himself as a child in South Africa by both whites, who thought he was “too black,” and blacks who thought he was “too white,” according to his Web site.
From his grandfather, he learned how to fight violence with nonviolence.
He shared his experiences and lessons in several books, including Lessons from My Grandfather, and a compilation of Mahatma Gandhi’s wit and wisdom. He also founded the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute in 2008 to fight poverty through community-building.
He will share some of those lessons in Augusta.
The annual King event has grown to become the largest interfaith service in the area. This year it will be held at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church at 6:45 p.m.
“I think it’s been a wonderfully unifying service each year,” said Rabbi Robert Klensin of the Congregation Children of Israel. “I think it’s clearly the most broadly interfaith service that takes place.”
Past speakers have included U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver; the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta; and the Rev. Otis Moss, former pastor to President Obama and his family.
Members of all faiths are invited to attend. The service will also feature a performance by the Davidson Fine Arts Chorale.
“This service is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come together,” Klensin said. “(King’s) message is so universal and so important to all of us.”