Making the ‘Dream’ a reality: Why churches should celebrate MLK Day
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief in a 'beloved community' — a community characterized by justice, equality, and love — was deeply rooted in his Christian faith.
King was mindful of the power and responsibility of the church in healing the divides of society. He was also well aware of challenges hindering churches themselves. On March 31, 1968 — only days before his assassination — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. uttered these words in a sermon at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.: “We must face the sad fact that at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning when we stand to sing ‘In Christ there is no East or West,’ we stand in the most segregated hour of America.”1
As United Methodists, our foundational belief in the sacred worth of all persons compels us to "work toward societies in which each person's value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened" (Social Principles, The Social Community, "Rights of Racial and Ethnic Persons," United Methodist Book of Discipline).
Acknowledging, celebrating and discussing MLK day is a step forward in the pursuit of this belief. As Bishop Woodie White says in his 2017 letter to King, "Our goal... is not merely a better, more just America. We Christians strive for a more beloved community, for what we sometimes call the reign of God."
Below you will find resources to help you commemorate and celebrate the MLK holiday in your congregation.
1Becoming an Anti-Racist Church: Journeying toward Wholeness, Joseph Barndt (Augsburg Fortress, 2011), p. 1.
Bishop Woodie White’s 2017 letter to Martin Luther King Jr.
In his annual birthday letter King, Bishop Woodie White urges striving for a more beloved community in the face of exclusiveness and division. Read More
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Resources for Martin Luther King Day
Churches and individuals can honor the civil rights leader and learn more through prayers, articles, and quick links to historic information. Read More
Would Martin Luther King Jr. be right today?
Is the worship hour on Sunday still the most segregated time in America, as Martin Luther King Jr. noted, or are we entering an era of change? Read More
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Find insightful ideas for promoting a culture of acceptance and justice in your church. Read More
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