04-09-2020  1:01 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
By The Skanner News
Published: 16 January 2020

On Saturday, January 18 and Sunday, January 19 Portland’s historic Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church will host the annual Drum Major celebration. This two-day commemoration consists of the Salute to Greatness awards and scholarship luncheon, held on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.in the Dr. & Mrs. O.B. Williams Fellowship Hall at the church, 3138 N. Vancouver Avenue.

Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, chief investment officer of Meyer Memorial Trust and chair of the Oregon Investment Council will deliver the keynote address.

The event will recognize community leaders:

  • W. Bryan Gibbs, MD, OHSU, who helped us understand that gun violence is a public health issue;
  • Donald Dixon, who has been a leader in public education and programs for young African-American men;
  • Rotary of Portland Peace Builders’ committee, who are also responsible for planting “Peace Poles” around the region;
  • Don Mazziotti, Homer Williams, Lisa Marandas who lead the “Harbor of Hope” serving the houseless community around the region,
  • foremost Portland gospel pianist and organist Bobby Garnett,
  • the Gospel Music Workshop of America-NW, and
  • Pastor Herman and Pastor Nike Greene of Abundant Life Church who also do police training and support young people at Roosevelt High School.

“Now is ‘Still’ the Time!”

On Sunday, in the church sanctuary from 2 to 4 p.m. Dr. Miles Davis, President of Linfield College in McMinnville (the first African American president in 162 years) is the keynote speaker with the theme: “Now is ‘Still’ the Time!”

Gov. Kate Brown, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Mayor Ted Wheeler and Metro President Lynn Peterson will give greetings; inter-faith leaders will give short messages of hope, the Pacific Youth Choir, under the direction of Mia Hall, will render music as will the Linfield College Choir under the direction of Dr. Anna Song.

Vancouver Avenue is one of Portland’s historic venues and the only church in Oregon where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the “Beloved Community” in November 1961 as part of his trip to the Pacific Northwest during the Civil Rights Movement.

When asked about the meaning of the events against the current social and political backdrop, Pastor J.W. Matt Hennessee, Senior Servant of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist said, “In times like these, it is imperative that we gather as community to work together, celebrate together, and collaborate together to ensure a vibrant, inclusive and constructive future.

"The spirit and legacy of Dr. King, Mrs. King, Mrs. Parks, President Mandela, Malcolm X and so many who came before us is what gives us encouragement and hope that we will overcome the difficulties, stresses and strains of now and continue to build the ‘Beloved Community.’”

About the Event:

The annual Drum Major Celebration is a two-day event honoring some of the city’s most promising students and most venerable leaders dedicated to humanitarianism, social justice, equity, and civil service. Hosted and sponsored by Portland’s historic Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, the celebration is scheduled for the weekend immediately prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Salute to Greatness scholarship and civic awards luncheon will take place on Saturday, January 18 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Church Fellowship Hall while the Empower the Dream inter-faith gathering and speaker series will take place on Sunday, January 19tin the church sanctuary, 3138 N. Vancouver Avenue in Portland from 2 to 4 p.m.

The public is encouraged to attend both programs and donations are encouraged for both events.

All donation proceeds go to the Drum Major Scholarship Fund to support future scholarship awards. For more information please contact the church directly at 3138 N. Vancouver Avenue, Portland, OR  97227, Tuesday-Friday 1 to 6 p.m. by calling 503.282.9496,  www.vafbcpdx.org, or at the door on the day of the event. If one can’t afford the donation, it will not be a barrier to entry.

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