About a thousand or so people showed up for the 24th Annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast at First Baptist Church of Orlando.
Held on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, the prayer breakfast sold out again this year, according to Roberta F. Walton, president of the Southwest Orlando Jaycees which co-sponsored the event with the YMCA of Central Florida.
The breakfast has become a staple in the area with people from various backgrounds, cultures, races and faiths gathering to commemorate the life of Dr. King and Kennedy, Orlando’s first Black elected official.
This year’s event featured keynote guest speaker Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret.) – U.S. Senate Chaplain, various prayers, addresses from local public officials, gospel songs; tributes as well as award presentations.
Congratulations to Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr., honored during the prayer breakfast as the 2015 Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Hard to list all that he’s accomplished as a leader in our community and abroad. Many know him as co-founder and retired pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando, past president of the Orange County NAACP and other local organizations.
Four students were awarded scholarships at a part of the event: Samuel Santiago, Colonial High School, Joshua Willliams, Edgewater High School; Winifred C. McKendrick II, Lake Mary High School and Shayla Rhodes, Maynard Evans High School.
From this editor’s seat, the breakfast was over the top with good feelings and fellowship. To top it all off, Chaplain Black, who has served as guest speaker at the breakfast before, delivered a Sunday morning message that caused many in the audience to put down their forks early to listen.
Looking across the audience shortly after taking the stage, he commented that the event was really a worship experience, with Sisaundra Lewis kicking off the event with an upbeat gospel tune.
Black shared his memories in the 60’s trying to fight for equality and told of the institution that resisted the most – the church. To say he said a mouthful would be an understatement. He quoted and recited several of Dr. King’s speeches, saying people forget that civil rights leader was also a Baptist preacher.
The main thing that stuck out in my mind from the message was this: As children of God, we are called to love and respect one another. We have to stand for justice for all. Make a positive difference in our sphere of influence.
Leave this earth better than we found it. Amen.
© Orlando Community News, 2015