WRITTEN BY: Chris Cole
Temple University faculty, students and alumni partnered with Berean Presbyterian Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to host a reading of his famous 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech as well as participate in service projects that will benefit the Philadelphia community.
This year’s event was organized by David Brown, an assistant professor of public relations as well as the Klein College diversity advisor to the Office of the Dean. In addition to this, Temple University’s Office of Community Relations has sponsored this event since 2010, according to Andrea Swan, the Office’s Community and Neighborhood Affairs Director.
Berean Presbyterian Church kicked off the event at 10:00 a.m. with short sermon in the sanctuary before transitioning to the reading of the “I Have A Dream” speech. Brown gathered students, faculty and community members alike in a large circle, where he proceeded to walk around the room as everyone took turns reading the speech one sentence at a time.
At the conclusion of the speech reading, volunteers from across the Temple community joined forces with church members to participate in a variety of service projects to benefit organizations across the city. In addition to cleaning the inside of the church, participants made sandwiches for Hub of Hope, a local homeless shelter; donated toiletries and personal care products to Project Home, a non-profit that works to provide resources for impoverished people in Philadelphia; and donated first aid kits to recreation centers, churches and other faith-based centers in the city.
Berean Presbyterian Church was founded in 1880 by Reverend Matthew Andersen, just four years before the founding of Temple University. Born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, Anderson was a man of great faith and vision who inspired his congregation with his physical, mental and emotional strength, according to the church’s historical records. Many of the church’s founding members were pioneers in the abolition movement, such as the famed educator and author William Still. Today, the legacy of the church lives in its many members. For example, both Pastor Michael Evans and Gregory Bonaparte, the president of the church’s board of trustees, were particularly happy about the amount of support that the event received.
Anyone interested in learning more about Berean Presbyterian Church and its history can visit the Church at 2101 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19122.