Hundreds packed the pews at Revelation Missionary Baptist Church Thursday morning for an Emancipation Proclamation Day Service.
The program, remembering the signing of the offical version of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, was sponsored by The Columbus Metro Area Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.
Bishop James E. Swanson, formerly of St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church, brought the message. He now leads the Holston United Methodist Conference, based in Knoxville, Tenn.
Swanson spoke passionately as to why it's important to continue commemorating the occasion.
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Swanson urged those gathered to not only remember how far they have come, but also the need to hold onto and pass along all they have seen.
"Remember this event reinforces the lesson we all should have learned," Swanson said, "Every person has within him or her the spark of God."
"Everybody counts, even if they are in the slums of New Orleans and they are the victims of a hurricane," Swanson said.
Excerpts from the Emancipation Proclamation were read by Gloria Stephens during the worship service.