Lift every voice and sing: Davie NAACP remembers MLK

Posted 1:58 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, 2023

By Mike Barnhardt

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Magalene Gaither would have been proud.

As the crowd at the annual Davie NAACP, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration began singing the final verse of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the pace slowed down a bit.

Priscilla Williams, who helped organize the program at Erwin Temple CME Church in Woodleaf, remembered the teachings of Gaither well, who pointed out that the last verse should be slower because it is a prayer.

“That’s your black history lesson for today,” she said.

The day was filled with prayers, the swearing in of new officers, music by Virginia Rush and a message from Erwin Temple pastor, Reverend Ervin L. Hannah.

Hannah discussed the Bible’s Book of Daniel, Chapter Five, describing the times in Babylon when Belshazzar betrayed the prophet Daniel, casting him aside as a forgotten citizen. He also ate and drank from golden cups stolen from the temple in Jerusalem.

Eventually Belshazzar literally saw the writing on the wall, “It’s going to be okay.”

“When we as a people, or nation, city or community turn our backs on God, we are walking in dangerous waters,” Hannah said.

When you stand up for nothing, you navigate in dangerous waters, he said.

When you are more concerned with building a bigger church building than saving more souls, you are walking in dangerous waters, he said.

“When we want more choir and less preaching, we are walking in dangerous waters.

“The church is not there for us, for you, for me, for our pleasure. The church is here for the world, to be its servant to the world for Christ. We are not there for ourselves, we are there for others. We forget that the church is the Lord.

“When the world throws a party, the churches of God are not invited. We don’t adapt,” Hannah said.

He urged those present to get more involved in their communities, never to miss an opportunity to vote.

“Run until God says ‘Welcome, my faithful servant.’ Keep praying without ceasing. Be like a tree, plant it near rivers and waters and if you do that, everything will be fine.

“Pray for our community. Pray for ourselves and as we work together to bring about change.

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