Religious Diversity Marks Prayer Service Honoring Man Behind King Week

January 17, 2008

Author: Marti Davis

Source: Knox News

The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, the son and grandson of Baptist ministers, might have been surprised at the variety of prayers offered at the altar of Knoxville's First Baptist Church in an interfaith prayer service to honor his memory Wednesday.

On the other hand, the man who credited Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi for many techniques he used to advance civil rights might have been quite comfortable with the ecumenical gathering that marks the traditional beginning of King Week.

At First Baptist's noontime service, prayers were led by a Muslim, Buddhist, a member of the Baha'i faith, a Delaware Indian and a Jewish rabbi, as well as several Christian clergymen.

The Rev. Dr. William Shiell, senior pastor of First Baptist, welcomed about 100 worshippers to his church, then joined the congregation. Shiell said the service was in keeping with Christian and Southern Baptist traditions.