CHESTERTOWN — Though this year’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast will look different, with the theme of “We’re All in This Together,” keynote speaker Bishop Ronald Fisher said he still sees the event as an opportunity to speak directly to the community.

“It gives me the opportunity to provide some hope, direction and some insight to the myriad of challenges that we are certainly facing today,” Fisher, pastor at Faith Life Church in Chestertown, said in a telephone interview Monday. “And to help speak to the racial disparity that unfortunately that we are still grappling with in 2021.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the annual breakfast that is typically held at the Rock Hall firehouse will move to a virtual format this year.

The event will be live streamed at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18 on the YouTube channel for the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. A direct link will be published before the event.

Though the event is free to watch, donations are being accepted to raise funds for local charities. Donations may be sent to: Chester Valley Ministers Association with the memo: MLK Jr. Breakfast, P.O. Box 227, Chestertown, MD 21620.

For more information, contact chestervalleyministersassoc@gmail.com, wmflook@gmail.com or the Rev. Sheila Lomax at 443-87708877.

In light of the pandemic, this year’s Humanitarian Award recipients will be given to essential workers during the pandemic. Recipients include health care workers, those who aided in food distribution efforts, first responders as well as other essential personnel.

Grants also will be announced during the breakfast for the Vincent Hynson Scholarship fund at Washington College, the Kent County Food Pantry, the Good Neighbor Fund and the Samaritan Group.

Fisher, a graduate of Queen Anne’s County High School who earned his doctorate from the National School of Theology, has been involved with Faith Life Church since 1976. He became senior pastor there in 1990, but began his tenure as assistant pastor.

Fisher said, though much of everyday life has been impacted by the coronavirus, there are still ways to reach out to the community and serve his congregants.

“This year will be probably like no other,” Fisher said. “We have an assignment. The pandemic — although it has changed our method, it has not in any way changed our message. So it has created new ways of thinking and different approaches to how to reach people, because we’re in the people business.”

Despite in-person services being limited right now due to social distancing orders, Fisher said Faith Life Church’s virtual platform has allowed him to preach to a larger audience than he likely ever reached on a weekly basis.

“We took on the challenge of learning new ways of communicating and stepping outside of our normal,” Fisher said.

Fisher said serving as the keynote speaker for the breakfast gives him the opportunity to “stand on the shoulders” of the great leaders who came before him.

“We just came through one of the most unusual, trying and even horrific years that many of us may ever see in our lifetime,” Fisher said. “The good news is, we survived and we’re still here. We have an opportunity going forward to make a contribution to improve the world we live in one person at a time. At the end of the day, we decide what our future will look like.”

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