The Rev. John Everhart, portraying Martin Luther King Jr., recites the late civil rights leader’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech during a Feb. 17, 1999, presentation in Yakima.

The Rev. John Everhart of Pilgrim’s Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Yakima was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Sacramento Theological Seminary and Bible College earlier this month.

DeRonald “Ronnie” Bradford, president of the Sacramento seminary, bestowed the award on Everhart during a seminar in Yakima in May. Bradford is from Yakima and is familiar with Everhart’s years of work in the community.

“He is the last of the old-school pastors in Yakima, and there’s a lot of people who would understand that terminology,” he said, noting the church has a rich history in the community.

The proclamation says Everhart has “made himself available to family, friends and his congregation for teaching and counseling, and has added to and been an asset to every community he has lived and worked in.”

“Anybody he’s been around, he’s enhanced their lives,” Bradford said.

Everhart, who has been a pastor at the church for 30 years, said the award was a welcome surprise.

The church is at 1302 S. Eighth St. in Yakima.