Patty Schoen, left, sings Monday during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service at Old South First Congregational Church in Farmington, accompanied by organist Patricia Hayden. Video screenshot

FARMINGTON — Dr. Nirav Shah, keynote speaker at the local Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance Monday, said the life and legacy of the civil rights activist give some insight into the continued fight for equality and the current pandemic.

Clayton McCarthy, a member of the Old South First Congregational Church in Farmington, reads Monday during the Martin Luther King Jr. annual service via Zoom by the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministries. Screenshot

“Dr. King lived and died in a time of tumult,” the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said via Zoom during the worship service by the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministries.

Shah said COVID-19 has changed “all our lives.”

King’s message that what affects one directly, affects all indirectly relates to the pandemic, Shah said. Inequality shows up in public health and “challenges us to do better.” Your ZIP code should not predict the quality of health care during the pandemic, he said.

He also mentioned King’s call to serve others and said people should be active listeners, paying attention to what they are hearing and act accordingly.

He said he wondered if King’s words “should be read as a road map or a stark warning” of what may come.

Shah’s presentation was among the inspirational messages, readings and uplifting music at the service, part of which was held at the Old South First Congregational Church. Clips of recordings of King’s sermons, marches for freedom and peace, accompanied by his “I Have a Dream” speech from Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., were shown before the service.

The Rev. Marraine Kettell, pastor of the church, said King took the church to the streets and with that in mind, “We take the church to Zoom.”


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