Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Jamaican pastor receives Martin Luther King Jr Proclamation Award

Published:Friday | March 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM

A Jamaican pastor, Bishop Dr Fedlyn A Beason, now resident in Florida, recently received the Martin Luther King Jr Proclamation Award for the city of Davie, Florida, in recognition of his “corporate citizenry and achievements”. The award was handed over by Mayor Judy Paul.

In making the presentation, Mayor Paul lauded Bishop Beason for his “work for humanity”, as evidenced by the food bank run by his church, the free counselling services offered by him for the city’s youth, and his plans now under way for the development of a multipurpose facility offering more services to the community. The mayor strongly highlighted the counselling activity as something that is “positively impacting the city’s youth”.

The Martin Luther King Jr Proclamation Award honours individuals across the United States (US) for community service. It is based on an act by Dr King in August 1963 “when he took to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and shared his vision of an America lifted from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood”. The presidential proclamation for 2019, signed by US President Donald Trump, hailed Dr King’s message as an “extraordinary message that stirred to action Americans of every race and creed and ... continues to reverberate in the hearts and minds of patriotic citizens across our great land”.

In his response, Beason introduced a related incident that took place 45 years ago. He recalled how one Sunday morning during his pastorate in Port Antonio, one of the town’s leading citizens, the late Evon Blake, award-winning journalist and publisher, attended the service. He continue: “To my surprise, Mr Blake came to me at the end of the service to say, “While you were preaching, I saw a vision of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, standing beside you, and this is testifying to the fact that one day you are going to be called upon to represent him’.”

Beason noted: “I thought nothing further of his ‘prophecy’ until I learnt of the offer of the award.” He also declared that while he did not have the privilege or the honour of personally meeting the late distinguished and formidable American freedom fighter, King Jr has long been a significant role model and an icon of reference in his own life and ministry.

The man of the cloth expressed gratitude to Mayor Paul and to all those responsible for his selection.

Beason served the New Testament Church of God in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean for almost six decades as a pastor, radio programme presenter, and district and island overseer. He currently serves the parent body Church of God diocese in Davie.