Bishop Willie Bolden applauds the Martin Luther King Club for 10 years of recognizing the African-American clergy of Fort Wayne.
“I believe it’s important because of the labor that these men and women put in year in and year out and sometimes without recognition and not even looking for recognition,” he said. “It’s good that people are excited about the work that they put in.”
The MLK Club will shine that light on Bolden at Breakfast with the Clergy in conjunction with the 33rd annual Unity Day celebration, all on Monday, Jan. 15.
Bolden’s photo is on the latest flier, but he spoke only of previous recipients and a host of colleagues when he said, “I know all of these men and women and I know they work hard.” Bolden is the pastor of The Well of Fort Wayne at 1315 S. Hanna St.
Breakfast with the Clergy will be from 8-10 a.m. at the Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd. The plated breakfast is $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight. RSVP’s are due by Jan. 8 by calling Fran Grant, (260) 493-0980, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unity Day will continue from 10:30-4 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes participation in a community round-table discussion. For advance tickets, call (260) 493-1534. This year’s theme is “Creating Community Connections.”
Bolden is pastoring in Fort Wayne for the second time. He started Calvary Temple in 1976, then turned it over to his brother, Melvin, and set out to start churches in Florida and California. “When I named my [Florida] church Lighthouse, my brother followed suit and named the Fort Wayne church Lighthouse,” he said. After Melvin’s death in 2015, Willie Bolden returned to Fort Wayne. “I changed the name once I got back, because people do not actually come to a lighthouse but they do come to a well,” he said.
Bolden wants the whole community to set aside barriers and to come to The Well. “That’s my prayer,” he said. “One of the things I want to do in my ministry is to bring people together.”
So, from noon-1 p.m. the first Saturday morning of each month, The Well hosts a citywide, men’s prayer time, “across religious and racial lines.”
“It’s really coming along,” Bolden said. “We have a good recognition from the whole community for men to come together and to seek the face of God together. I think it’s been an awesome time.”
“We started this church with about eight people and when I left here we had about 2,000 people,” Bolden said. “We had about 60-40 black and white. We had people who would drive from Akron, Ohio, every Sunday to my church.”
Bolden recalled being interviewed for a network audience in those early days. “They wanted to know how I was getting these white people to come down here and I said, ‘Just love everyone that comes in the door,’ ” he said.
Those numbers are returning to The Well, he said.
The first portion of Unity Day will include the a mayoral proclamation, scholarship presentations, community service awards, a spoken tribute to the Rev. King, local vendors, free health screenings, and a program of singing by the Fort Wayne Voices of Unity Choir.
The second portion of the program will allow the community to participate in a round-table discussion with 12 Fort Wayne community leaders.
Finally, the MLK Club will promote its 2018 civil rights trip. The club will charter two buses for a four-day, three-night tour of several civil rights museums and sites in Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma.
Scholarship applications were due Dec. 15.
Vendor applications with payment are due by Jan. 7. For details, contact Angela Lewis at (260) 416-5433 or email her at email@example.com.