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Building Beloved Community

January 13, 2017

By Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt*

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964During his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. intimated that “everyone could be great because everyone could serve.” In the uncertain times that we find ourselves in as churches and society, making a sincere commitment to community-building and social engagement, to serve the causes of promoting peace with justice, is how individuals, churches, groups, organizations, institutions and even governments can act to continue to perpetuate the pursuit of Dr. King’s (and other’s) vision of the Beloved Community.

Here is a Ten-point Action Plan that individuals, churches and other organizations can enact with the goal of promoting peace with justice. 

  1. Support and develop community-wide plans aimed at expanding economic opportunities for racial-ethnic persons and women specifically in the areas of housing, banking and employment practices.
     
  2. Actively participate in programs that reach out to help those in the most need – the hungry, the homeless and the unemployed.
     
  3. Adopt an inner-city or rural school. Offer your skills where appropriate. Do your part to assure that every inner city and rural young person can look forward to an adequate education.
     
  4. Encourage schools, colleges and universities in your community to include Dr. King’s (and other freedom fighters) teachings in their curricula and programs.
     
  5. Take specific actions to deal with the problems of drugs, alcohol dependency, teenage pregnancy and family violence in your community.
     
  6. Become an advocate and encourage church, political and community leaders to advocate for the removal of all weapons from our streets, homes and schools.
     
  7. Support causes that promote freedom, justice and peace abroad. Help extend human rights, dignity, and health and economic well-being to all persons.
     
  8. Take a stand and encourage persons in your church and community to actively oppose those groups that promote hatred and violence. Actively and vigilantly oppose racism, homophobia and other forms of xenophobia in our communities.
     
  9. Sponsor and participate in programs that encourage interracial, intercultural and inter-religious goodwill and unity.
     
  10. Read the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church (or another denomination/faith group) and strive to make them an integral part of the faith and life of yourself, your church and your community.

* The Rev. C. Anthony Hunt is senior pastor of Epworth Chapel UMC in Baltimore and a professor at the Ecumenical Institute. This list comes from one of his classes on Martin Luther King, Jr. For more, see his book “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

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