NORTH ADAMS -- At the beginning of 2012, the Rev. David Anderson, pastor of the First Baptist Church began saying a new prayer; one that asked God to allow him and his congregation to serve as the Lord's hands and feet in the local community.
Anderson, who was awarded the 2013 Peacemaker Award on Monday, said he believes that prayer was answered, allowing the congregation to offer its strength and support to the community this summer, during times of tragedy and loss.
"I am humbled to receive this award today, really honored. I accept it on behalf of myself and our congregation," he said, after being presented with the award during the 20th annual Northern Berkshire Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the MCLA Church Street Center. "I look at the list of names on this plaque and I feel as if I am joining a really special fraternity. I was more deeply humbled when I found out my friend Alex Daugherty nominated me for this. I have for a long time admired Alex tremendously. We all have people out in the community that we aspire to be more like and Alex is one of those people who always puts others first."
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said he has known Anderson for many years, but truly grew to know him over the summer when the community faced three tragic deaths over a short period of time.
"As we all know, we suffered great loss and sadness with the passing of Matthew Goodson, Nancy Carpenter and Michael DeMarsico," the mayor said. "All tragic. All untimely. All shook our faith. I could go on forever about Pastor Dave and the things he did this summer to hold us together as a community, not just in faith but in spirit. He allowed us to question our faith, while not allowing us to give up on our spirit. Pastor Dave is truly a peacemaker, and on behalf of this city, a city you served so well this past summer, I want to congratulate and thank you."
Daugherty, chairman of the Martin Luther King Day Committee, said he could think of no one more deserving of the award this year than Anderson.
"It's a great testament to a great man. We're blessed to have him in this city," he said.
During his acceptance, Anderson shared a quote by King that he finds inspirational: "We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope."
"That quote is my theme for the coming month," he said. "As we look at all the concerns of this community, the overlying issue is hope. We are lacking hope, in some respects, as a community. But, we have a gift. We have a skill. We have the ability, the heart and the passion to not only meet these community needs, but here's my big audacious dream for the community: That we together to change the culture of North Adams. That we see people moving from a sense and state of despair, to a people who are hope-filled. That's my dream for our community this year."
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