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MLK50

Marching Into Lent and Easter: 1968 and 2018

In his Mountaintop speech delivered April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of “The Jericho Road” found in the parable of the Samaritan in Luke 10. Dr. King answered the Pharisee’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” by standing in solidarity with the Memphis’ Sanitation Workers. His stand in Memphis and the many he had taken prior had deadly consequences for him and profound implications for this country.

At the time of his assassination, Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were preparing a mass demonstration of the Poor People’s Campaign for Washington, D.C. By visiting cities like Memphis, Dr. King highlighted the country’s enduring economic disparities mired in racism.

Fifty years later, the road remains steep as we look out on the landscape of the U.S. and its faith communities. United Methodists still have much to address about our racial inheritance and where God may yet lead us toward repentance and renewal. The critique Dr. King issued from a Birmingham Jail continues to challenge pastors, congregations, and our broader agencies.

The BWC, through the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Call to Action, has invited congregations “to engage in conversations and experiences that help them take the next step toward becoming racial justice change agents”. In a spirit of sacred remembrance, we seek to engage in this MLK50 season through reflection and action. Through our Lenten Journey, The Jericho Road, we hear from voices around the Conference engaging Scripture and inviting us, alongside King’s legacy, to continue the change agent work of Beloved Community in our local settings.

A group of lay and clergy also will journey to Memphis the first week in April. Through this sojourn, the BWC will bear witness to the Jericho to Jerusalem Road. While the sojourners walk the streets of Memphis, United Methodists around the BWC also have the opportunity to march for King’s vision.  Christians from around the country will gather on the National Mall for an April 4 National Council of Churches’ Rally to End Racism.

Dr. King never made it to 1968 Poor People’s national demonstration or what became “Resurrection City.” Yet, we are invited to claim the signs of hope that flower from his ministry and witness even fifty years later. While death is a crucial part of our Christian narrative, resurrection also demands that we “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” with God. With eyes on the Promised Land, we can yet live into Christ’s promises of resurrection by helping to upturn injustice here on earth. We may see a bit of mountaintop, be we are not there yet. The journey continues in the valleys of our deepest need where neighbors cry out, and where Beloved Community may yet flourish.

 


Memphis Sojourn

As a soulful Sojourn of remembrance, this trip (April 3-7, 2018) commemorates the life of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., marking the 50th Anniversary of his assassination, April 4, 1968, and the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. Through the lens of Civil Rights and the Poor People's Campaign, we will consider what it means to work for King's Beloved Community today. We will visit historic sites, hear from dynamic speakers, and engage in daily prayer. Upon return, participants are invited to share their experiences in community as we continue the pursuit of racial justice and renewal throughout the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Learn more. 


Events 

Feb. 3 – Join a Beloved Community Toolkit Conversation presented by the Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt, at Emmanuel UMC, 10755 Scaggsville Road in Laurel, Md.  from 9 to 11 a.m.  In this 50th year since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we take particular pause to learn from his life and ministry. We are called to continue the work of Beloved Community through mediation, public witness, and community partnership. In his Beloved Community toolkit, Dr. Hunt outlines key practices for effective witness for such a time as this.  RSVP to . Hunt is pastor of Epworth Chapel UMC in Baltimore. He is a prolific author and teaches at Wesley Theological Seminary. At Wesley, he developed and implemented “Retracing the Steps of Freedom,” a doctoral immersion course in Alabama, where to date over 100 graduate students have studied the history of the American Civil Rights movement and the principles of Gandhian/Kingian nonviolence, peacemaking, conflict resolution, community-building and Beloved Community.

Feb. 12-15 -- The Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute

April 3-7 – Attend the MLK50 Sojourn in Memphis, TN As a soulful sojourn of remembrance, this trip commemorates the life of The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., marking the 50th Anniversary of his assassination, April 4, 1968, and the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike. Through the lens of Civil Rights and the Poor People’s Campaign, participants will consider what it means to work for King’s Beloved Community today. They will visit historic sites, hear from dynamic speakers, and engage in daily prayer. Upon return, participants are invited to share their experiences in community as we continue the pursuit of racial justice and renewal throughout the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
*Please note, registration for this event has closed as it has reached it's maximum capacity.

April 4 -- Attend a Rally on the National Mall sponsored by The National Council of Churches of Christ in The United States of America Rally to mark its endorsement of an ongoing initiative to End Racism    This massive rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC on April 4 is expected to be the most visible and impactful work of the National Council of Churches in its recent history. The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA supported the work of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., participated in the march in Selma, and has continued this struggle for racial justice throughout its history.