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Contact(s):Scott Whiteley Carter
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

PLANS ANNOUNCED FOR ECUMENICAL SERVICE IN CONJUNTION WITH CENTRAL HIGH INTEGRATION 50TH ANNIVERSARY

(Little Rock AR - Tuesday, September 11, 2007) – Using the title “A Celebration of Reconciliation and Remembrance,” local clergy today announced plans for an ecumenical service in conjunction with the Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commission.

The service will take place at 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 23, 2007, at Robinson Center Music Hall. Bishop Steven M. Arnold of St. Mark Baptist Church and Rev. Victor H. Nixon of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church are coordinating the service.

“All are welcome regardless of their faith tradition,” said Bishop Arnold. “This service is not about being Baptist or Methodist or being Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or another faith.”

Other participating faith leaders will be Imam Johnny Hassan, The Islamic Center for Human Excellence, Rabbi Eugene H. Levy of Temple B’nai Israel, and the Rev. Betsy Singleton of Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church.

“In 1957, the faith community—like the greater community—was divided,” said Rev. Nixon. “There were many ministers and lay leaders who offered support and spoke out publicly. But there were also many who used religious teachings to separate. Today, we are honored to be standing together across faith traditions to promote unity.”

“There are many things that unite our faith traditions,” said Bishop Arnold. “Music is certainly one of them. In addition to words of inspiration, there will be music to inspire you led by a blended choir.”

“The one-hour program is divided into three sections. The first is Voices from the Past, where we will briefly be reminded of the events of 1957. The second section is Voices of the Present, which focuses on remarks from the various participating faith leaders,” said Rev. Nixon. 

“Because the Central High 50th Commission has focused on the future, the third section is Voices of the Future,” said Bishop Arnold. “I don’t want to say too much about it, to find out about it, you are just going to have to attend. But there is a part for everyone to play—just as there is a part for everyone to play in racial reconciliation.”

“We look forward to everyone attending this service,” said Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commissioner Joy Secuban. “It is free and open to the public. Though doors to schools churches may have been closed to some in 1957, the doors of Robinson Center Music Hall will be open to all in 2007.”

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