Students, instructors, pastors and community members assembled at Ebenezer United Methodist Church on Wednesday, Feb. 13, to commemorate Black History Month and to share their dreams.
Ebenezer UMC Pastor, Rev. Kenneth Newby, opened the service and the men’s choir presented musical selections.
Licking Valley Campus Instructor Donna C. Slone-Crumbie gave a reading, LVC student Mike Jones presented a creative interpretation in dance, and several other students shared their dreams.
One student dreamed that there would one day be a cure for cancer.
One student dreamed of a community soup kitchen.
Another student dreamed of more opportunities for community youth.
Yet another student dreamed of an end to abandoned animals on our city streets through an effective spay/neuter program.
“What I picked up on was the diversity: different age groups and different ethnic backgrounds coming together to worship in one service. I closed with a prayer and had everyone stand up and hold hands. And I thought about what our dreams were and what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for.
“He had a dream that we would all live in peace. He dreamed of what was going on that night at Ebenezer church,” said Jeff Jackson, pastor of Elmarch United Methodist Church in Cynthiana, and the speaker for the evening. “Even our diversity was something that we had in common.”
Jackson, who received a portion of his schooling at Licking Valley Campus as a non-traditional student, said that everyone has dreams and that every dream is important. He also stressed that dreams can change.
Jackson shared his personal story with the crowd.
He had a dream when he was young of being an architect, but took a different path right after high school. Because of those choices, his architectural dream crumbled. But Jackson said that God wasn’t finished with him yet.
Piece by piece, brick by brick, Jackson started to turn his life around, and one of the most important choices he said he made was to begin with a new foundation of learning.
He enrolled in classes in 2010 and said the opportunity to re-build helped to save his life.
Through his tenure on campus, Jackson gained knowledge in class, but he also gained leadership knowledge when he founded the Christian student group Alpha and Omega, and leadership through the student ambassador program.
Now, he said, he has a continual thirst for knowledge and understands that education is the mortar that will help him hold the pieces of his life together for a higher calling that will serve God. And even though he is not building structures made of bricks and steel, he is nonetheless following his childhood dream.
“I’m kind of an architect because I get to help God build his kingdom,” Jackson said.
Part of his message was to the entire community that they, too, can follow their dreams and build their futures no matter who they are, what color their skin is or where they have been.
“If we are all created equal, then we all have that same opportunity to get what we want and to get that education and move forward and set a goal for ourselves and do it,” Jackson said. “People want to be successful. When the students talk about what their dreams are, they also need to realize that they can be successful. If you get knocked down, that is part of the process. It is in reach.”