Multi-faith service will commemorate Dr. King’s work 50 years after his assassination

Mar 23, 2018

Fifty years after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the nation is divided. But as WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us, a local church is hoping that by looking back that we can move forward.  

St. Paul's Cathedral, Pearl Street & Church Street, Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“Dr. Martin Luther King – the apostle of non-violence in the Civil Rights movement has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee,” declared Walter Cronkite during a CBS Evening News broadcast.  

Newspaper on MLK's death.

The Civil Rights leader was murdered April 4, 1968 outside a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King was there to fight for better wages and working condition for sanitation workers.

Ironically, the night before his death he delivered his powerful "I've been on a Mountain top" speech, saying he wasn’t in fear.  

“I’m not fearing any man,” shouted Dr. King.

“Those of us who were around at that time know where we were and what we were doing at the time we received that news,” remarked the Very Rev. Will Mebane, interim dean St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Buffalo. 

Mebane tells us in a time when the nation is divided, and citizens are fighting for justice and an end to violence, his church will be hosting a multi-faith service in honor of King on April 4th, 6:30 p.m. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King’s death.

“As I was thinking about what to do commemorate the 50th anniversary, I was keenly aware of the divisiveness that exists in our country right now. I think Martin would be sadden, would be angered, and would be appalled at the state of affairs in our nation right now,” Mebane explained. 

The Very Rev. Will Mebane, interim dean St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, 2015outside Cathedral.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Dean Mebane said he believes our country and even the city of Buffalo has gone backwards since King’s death as there is a fight for equality. 

“It’s gone backwards. I sense now a lot of divide between the rich and the poor, the persons of color and those of European decent. I just visited a parishioner and three doors down from their house was a Confederate flag flying outside, so we have a long way still to go,” Mebane remarked. 

The April 4th service will be led by the Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, the Rev. William Franklin.

Rev. Mebane tells WBFO News they have invited a diverse group from other faiths from the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Unitarian faith-communities.