La Jolla Church marks Black History Month with special programs

By Ashley Mackin

As a kickoff to Black History Month, several church groups gathered at the Congregational Church of La Jolla Jan. 30 to honor people of color in the community and present the second Pillar of Light award.

The Pillar is given to those who bring positivity and light to others, and was awarded posthumously to Oscar Knight III, who died in 2012. His widow, Gladys, accepted the award.

Knight, a longtime Kiwanis Club member, served as Kiwanis Club president, lieutenant governor and governor of the California/Nevada/Hawaii District — one of the first African-Americans to do so.

Pastor Charles Norris of La Jolla’s Prince Chapel by the Sea African Methodist Episcopal Church, conducted the Thursday night service, and described Knight as a “gentle giant” with a “positive, can-do attitude.”

He added, “The only way people really die is if we let these things they have done die, so we want to recognize those things so these people may live on.”

Throughout the month of February, the Prince Chapel by the Sea church will host special services with an emphasis on Black History each Sunday, featuring special speakers and guest pastors; celebrations of song with choirs and performers; and recognition of people of color who have contributed to the community. All are invited.

■ Prince Chapel by the Sea African Methodist Episcopal Church is at 7517 Cuvier St. Special services will be 10:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 16 and 23. The Feb. 23 service will include a “Heritage Celebration,” during which some members will attend in the traditional garb of their family’s country of origin.