When the congregation of St. Ann Catholic Church wanted to recognize the church’s role in the Civil Rights struggle, they didn’t have to look far.
The church, in downtown Fayetteville, was a landmark of integration in the South.
On Jan. 14, the church remembers the struggle and looks to the future with its third annual edition of the Martin Luther King lecture series.
The Rev. Royce Winters, director of the Office of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, will speak.
“Actually, it’s less a lecture than an informal discussion,” said St. Ann pastor Steve Shott. “We don’t want people to think it’s a stuffy sort of affair.
“We’re going to gather, have some refreshments and discuss the subject. It’s more a relaxed evening of social interaction.”
It also will be an evening likely to see an increased audience. The crowd last year filled the church’s social hall, and Shott suggests people arrive early.
“The lecture will be held right after our Saturday evening Mass,” he said. “A lot of people will stay for it, so the hall will fill quickly.”
Winters, the speaker, has experience both in the clergy and in law enforcement. He served for more than 25 years with the Cincinnati Police Department in drug enforcement, S.W.A.T. negotiations and sex-offender programs.
In 2010, Winters became the administrator of a predominantly black church formed in the merger of four smaller churches.
His experience in law enforcement offers a unique perspective in the clergy, Shott said.
“He can speak on issues of our time from experience,” he said.
The lecture series began at St. Ann as the church was celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Source: Fayetteville Observer | Chick Jacobs