Ouachita Baptist University will observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Jan. 16 with its faculty and staff and on Jan. 18 with the entire campus community.
“The observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is most appropriate for many reasons. We first remember a life, a life ended too soon, that impacted all Americans,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne. “We are all indebted to the non-violent approach Dr. King used to address and overcome practices and beliefs that were systemic and sinful. I was a teenager during those critical days and will never forget the power and majestic words and deeds of the Baptist preacher.”
Dr. Danny Hays will present a biblical reflection on King’s legacy during Ouachita’s Faculty/Staff Assembly Jan. 16. Hays serves as dean of OBU’s Pruet School of Christian Studies and has written extensively on the biblical perspective of racial equality including such papers as “The Presence and Influence of a Black Nation in the Bible: A Study of the Cushites,” “Racial Bias in the Academy … Still?” and “America’s Best Hope for Racial Harmony: The Next Generation.”
“We believe that the Bible teaches total and complete equality of all people, without regard to ethnicity,” Hays said. “Perhaps more than any other person in recent history, Dr. Martin Luther King worked tirelessly to try to bring this truth into practical reality in America, ultimately giving up his life for this cause. In honor of Dr. King, I will discuss a few of these important texts in the scriptures that reveal this truth and then I will suggest a few areas where we need to continue to work and to make progress toward true equality for all people.”
Once students return to campus and classes begin Jan. 18, the first Noonday service of the semester will be dedicated to Dr. King. Noonday, a brief, student-led service held each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon, offers an opportunity for students and the campus community to worship, share testimonies and pray together.
“During this week it’s especially important to remember Dr. King’s ministry and how he challenged Christians to overcome racial, economic and social barriers that ultimately tarnish the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said James Taylor, OBU’s director of campus ministries. “While we should live out the unity of the gospel throughout the year, I think it’s important to have special times to remember Dr. King and his work. I’m glad that Campus Ministries & Noonday can be a part of the remembrance, and hope we are a part of the ongoing work of reconciliation.”
Noonday leaders include Emmanuel Engulu, a senior Christian studies/Christian theology and Biblical studies major from Fort Worth, Texas; Allison Grigsby, a senior mass communications major from Cabot, Ark.; and Mary Castleman, a senior Christian media and communications and mass communications major from Batesville, Ark. Kristen James from OBU’s Reaching Out to Multicultural Students (ROMS) organization will also contribute to the Jan. 18 service; James is a junior kinesiology, leisure studies and recreation major from Missouri City, Texas.
For more information, contact the OBU Office of Communications at (870) 245-5206.
By Brooke Zimny