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Pastor to set tone for peace on King Day

With his father watching, the pastor of a Tampa church will deliver the keynote address at the annual event on Monday.

By CHASE SQUIRES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 20, 2002

DADE CITY -- The Rev. Steve Nunn followed his father to the pulpit. On Monday, he said he will ask others to follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s example to peace.

Nunn, pastor of Tampa's Trinity Gospel Community Church, is the keynote speaker for Dade City's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day service set for 11 a.m. Monday. The traditional service, started in 1986, rotates among churches in the Dade City area. This year, the host church is St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church located, appropriately, at Seventh Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Irene Dobson, president of the committee that organizes the celebration, said that after a decade on the committee and two years as president, she is in her last year at the helm, worn out by all the work that goes into the event. But, she said, the service is too important to ever go away and is bigger than any one person.

"This is something we just started doing and it works every year," she said. "It's something that is so important, it raises money for scholarships for our children. It's about education, that was Dr. King's dream."

Nunn said the events of Sept. 11 have led him to reflect on the role of religion and spirituality. The word of God, he said, should be a healing force, one that unites people of all races.

"It's time for healing," he said. "It is important to remind all brothers and sisters, believers or nonbelievers, that there is a precedent through God and the power of his word that brings together a spiritual healing."

Nunn will have at least one member of the audience paying special attention: his father, the Rev. Eddie Nunn.

The senior Nunn, pastor of Zephyrhills' Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, said he is proud of his son's decision to follow him to the pulpit.

"You can give children a good example, but they don't always follow," the elder Nunn said. "I'm proud he followed me to God. He's a good, dynamic, preacher. I'm proud to hear him preach."

The program begins at 11 a.m. and is free to everyone. Musician Carrie Johnson from St. John Missionary Baptist Church and the Rev. L. Waiters Sr. will officiate, said program coordinator Juanita Calhoun.

The program will also include a community youth choir drawn from area churches. In addition, speakers are scheduled to include a traditional step dance group from Orlando's Sanctuary of Praise, other pastors from local churches, and a proclamation from Dade City Mayor Scott Black.

Money raised from a collection will fund scholarships for local college students.

A covered dish lunch follows the ceremony.

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