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Church hosts yearly MLK Day tribute

| January 16, 2024
A couple dozen people helped Dover First Baptist Church pay tribute to civil Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday named in his honor. (WJER Radio)

Rev. Jim Borton (far right) was the featured speaker for this year’s MLK Day Tribute at Dover First Baptist Church. He’s pictured here alongside Dover First Baptist Pastor Rasheed As-Samad, Mayor Shane Gunnoe, and Master of Ceremonies Marvin Fete. (WJER Radio)

DOVER (WJER) (Jan. 16, 2024) – The community came together despite the bitter cold last night to honor a civil rights icon.

Reverend Jim Borton was the featured speaker for this year’s MLK Day tribute at Dover First Baptist Church. He didn’t feel qualified to speak about the movement since he grew up as a privileged white kid in the 70s and instead stuck with what he knows best: The Bible.

“You probably know John 3:16, the most famous verse in the Bible that says God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son so that ‘whosoever’ believes in him [shall not perish but have eternal life]. ‘Whosoever’ is not just people that look like me and live like me or near me or talk like me and have all the same interests.”

Mayor Shane Gunnoe also participated, reading “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, the poem Nelson Mandela often recited while imprisoned. 

“It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

The tribute ended with the singing of “We Shall Overcome” and a call to action from Dover First Baptist Pastor Rasheed As-Samad. 

“Brother God, we ask that you touch the hearts of each and every one of us and allow us to be soldiers in the war of equality and justice and civil rights for all.”

Borton is the pastor at First Christian Church in New Philadelphia and also serves as the chaplain for the high school football team. He filled in for the original speaker, Jordan Miller, whose son is battling cancer.

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