Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday that honors the late civil rights leader and his struggle for equality and justice.

Here in McDowell County, this holiday will be observed with two events: the annual prayer breakfast on Saturday morning and the communitywide service scheduled for Monday morning.

The Fifth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast is Saturday at the Marion Community Building where folks will come together to reaffirm the commitment of unity and justice Dr. King preached during his time.

Doors will open at 8 a.m. and the service will start at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The event is sponsored by Mount Zion AME Zion Church, and a catered breakfast will be available.

Local pastors will pray during the service, along with the guest speaker Pastor Stephon D. Goode.

Goode is a native of Marion and a resident of Creedmoor. He is currently the pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church in Warrenton where he has served for almost 15 years. Goode is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received his B.A. in physical education, exercise and sports science and a Master’s degree in school administration.

Currently, Goode is employed by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System as the principal of Smith Middle School. He is married to the former Brenda Franklin of High Point and they have three bright and beautiful children, Corrinia, Leah and Stephon, Jr., aka Case.

Goode received his pastoral training under the guidance of the late Dr. Marcus V. Ingram, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Apex. He answered his call to preach 16 years ago and he preached his initial sermon the week of 9/11, according to a news release.

Since that time, God has blessed him to serve in many capacities. Goode has gained the support of not only his local community, but also support from churches and communities all over the East Coast.

Goode comes from a "hallelujah" background and an "amen" environment. It is his desire to be a vessel of God and bring the true worshippers of Christ into a closer walk with Him. He would like for his ministry to reflect the thought that “it never was about us, it's all about Christ,” according to a news release.

On Monday, Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church will host the 21st Annual Martin Luther King Day service, starting at 11 a.m. The theme of this year’s service is “United, Yet Divided.”

The King Day service is traditionally held by the United Methodist Women of Addie’s Chapel. This will be the 21st year for this special event, which is open to all of McDowell County, according to Connie Martin, president of the church’s UMW.

Marion’s Mayor Pro Tem Billy Martin will greet all those who attend and acknowledge local officials in attendance. The Rev. Walter Pegues, pastor of the church, will lead the congregation in prayer.

Ray McKesson, president of the McDowell chapter of the NAACP, and Jo Pyatt, representative of the Blue Ridge District of the UMW, are also scheduled to speak during the service.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Smith will be the guest speaker. He is the pastor of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Marion.

A native and resident of Marion, he was called to be the pastor of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Oct. 18, 1997. On May 3, 1998, he was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Mountain and Catawba Missionary Baptist Association. He is presently an active pastor of the Gold Hill Missionary Baptist Association.

In addition to his role of church leadership, Smith is a middle and high school social studies teacher in the McDowell County School System, and the District’s Secondary Teacher of the Year for this year.

He and his wife Teri have two daughters, Tiffini and Tenise; and six grandchildren.

A dedicated servant, Smith lives his life by example and is committed to spreading the good news of the gospel through spoken word and song, according to a news release.

In addition, Chad Greene and Greg Conley will provide special music for the service.

Refreshments will be served afterward in the fellowship hall.

On Monday, administrative offices for McDowell County, the city of Marion, the town of Old Fort, the school system and McDowell Technical Community College will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

For more information about Monday’s service, call Connie Martin at 652-5506.

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