Rocky Fork Enterprise

'Building Bridges'

Gahanna gearing for Jan. 21 King celebration


Gahanna residents will have several opportunities to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 21, starting with a breakfast and program at New Life Church and ending with a benefit concert by Gahanna Lincoln High School students at Peace Lutheran Church.

"Building Bridges," the theme for the fourth annual Gahanna Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, is sponsored by Stonybrook United Methodist and New Life Church and will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at New Life Church, 3690 N. Stygler Road.

Registration is required by Friday, Jan. 19, and may completed done online at Cost is $10 per person and $5 for children ages 12 and younger.

Proceeds from the breakfast will benefit the Gahanna Ministerial Association's community center project.

Cathy Phillips, event coordinator, said Building Bridges celebrates and honors Martin Luther King, Jr. by coming together -- not just to remember him but also to do something.

The ministerial alliance in Gahanna hopes to eventually launch a community ministry that would gather clothes and food, household goods and furniture, bank assistance and basic automotive repair under one roof.

The alliance already has a proven track record of perceiving and meeting needs, according to Phillips.

In the past four years alone, she said, 10 congregations and more than 20 local businesses have banded together to serve thousands of lunches during the summer to students who are on free or reduced-priced lunch plans.

"Gahanna is unified in a most unusual way," Phillips said. "Our city works together in many ways -- church, city officials, schools and lay people -- to make a difference."

Phillips said King had paid particular attention to those members of society who were considered to be disadvantaged and in the lower levels of the economic picture.

"The Gahanna Ministerial Association Bridging the Gap/Proposal for a Ministry Outpost purpose is to establish a community ministry that will help people tangibly bridge the gap between helplessness and hopefulness, not making it at all and standing tall for another day," she said.

The breakfast will celebrate building bridges within the community and will include a historical view by Dr. Ervin Smith; education by Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter; the Rev. Kai Nilson, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, to discuss the Gahanna Ministerial Association's community center project; and ministry by Steve Benninger, New Life's pastor.

In addition to benefiting the community project by attending the breakfast, the Gahanna Lincoln High School chamber orchestra, chorale and select ensemble will perform Franz Schubert's Mass in G as a benefit concert for Gahanna Residents In Need at Peace Lutheran Church, 455 Clark State Road.

Orchestra director Kevin Dengel said the concert gives students an opportunity for service-learning and exposure to top-tier literature.

Performances will be at 7 and 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and are free for senior citizens.

To reserve tickets, email