If you ever found yourself wondering why we, as Presbyterians, might be called to observe this particular public holiday, let me tell you about what happened a few weeks ago to a Presbyterian church in Springfield, Massachusetts (about 90 miles outside of Boston).
Three days after Christmas, members of the Martin Luther King Community Presbyterian Church, woke up to the news that their church building was on fire. As a small congregation, it was a feat to fund the replacement of the church roof, which was installed just weeks prior to the destructive fire. Even more devastating was the news that local and federal investigators have reasons to believe the fire was a case of arson.
(You can read more about this story and the congregation here https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/arson-suspected-at-a-pcusa-church-in-springfield-massachusetts/?fbclid=IwAR2clYXh8Alt6UZFSjO7x9a7TQA-l4QuWgxQklvCWySaqNHwrv-HyamHEPg)
Like the prophetic voices of those we read in our Scripture, the many speeches and the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. continue to inspire, challenge, comfort, and call us to a higher way of living together as God’s beloved community. Unfortunately, like the case of our sister church in Springfield, Dr. King’s life and work were met with much hate and violence.
If you have found yourself longing to see the fullness of freedom, justice, and unity Dr. King believed was possible for our city and in our common lives, I hope these resources and recommendations will encourage you and inspire you to honor the incredible legacy left by Dr. King, so that together we might continue to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
There are several events honoring Dr. King’s life in the DFW area, including a Ribbon Cutting ceremony in honor of the newly renovated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Arts Academy, a Dallas ISD school in South Dallas. PHPC is proud to serve as a supporting faith partner.
- Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Arts Academy
Monday, January 16 at 10am
www.dallasisd.org/bond2015 and simulcast on the Dallas ISD Facebook page
- The Dallas Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center is hosting a weeklong celebration including a virtual Candle Lighting Ceremony with guest speaker Dr. Frederick Douglas Haynes, III. On Tuesday, there will also be a Wreath Laying Ceremony Online with guest speakers Dr. Jerry Christian (MLK Advisory Board Chair), Mayor Eric Johnson, and Councilman Adam Bazaldua.
Starting Friday, January 15 at 4pm
- The City of Arlington's "Advancing the Dream" Celebration includes 4 days of free virtual programs, including Step Show and Drum Line performances and a “Poetry Meets Jazz” event and more. (Great for kids & families!)
Starting January 15 at 6pm
- Gain knowledge and insight into Dr. King’s civil rights legacy and explore how we are called to walk the path towards racial justice and equity.
- Visit Tarrant County College's MLK Historical Timeline Exhibit. This virtual experience focuses on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and significant moments that occurred during the civil rights movement. It also contains a curated list of resources and information on how we can continue Dr. King's legacy.
Available now through January 18th
- Attend the Friendship-West Baptist Church’s 4th Annual King Teach In: This teach-in will revisit how Dr. King's theology and politics intersected and offer training on activism beyond the streets. This teach-in will also offer training on how to engage in movement building strategies for a better America. Speakers include, Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, Senior Pastor of Friendship-West; Rev. Dr. George Mason, Senior Pastor Wilshire Baptist Church (Dallas, TX). Mayor London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco, CA
Saturday, January 16 at 11am
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University will host a free, four-day webinar and film festival, from the evening of Jan. 15 through Jan. 18, 2021. The festival will feature over 15 documentaries as well as musical performances and panel discussions that speak to Dr. King's unanswered question: "Where do we go from here?"
- Enroll in PHPC’s February course offering, A History of Race in America, taught by the Rev. Dr. Michael Waters, Founder and Lead Pastor of the Abundant Life African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.
This course will seek to take a deep dive into America's racialized histories to gain awareness of how these histories continue to shape our present time and our future. Through lectures, class discussions, readings, and documentaries, students will become more knowledgeable of the realities that people of color face daily and emerge as antiracists committed to the fullness of life that God intends for all people.
Tuesdays, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. via Zoom
February 2 – February 23
- Kids and Families can watch videos and speeches on the MLK Day Playlist curated by the Lake Highlands Area Moms Against Racism group: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrIbwW9doUbos0WpgmsQEqk7JfIC_Vauh
Serve the parts of your community that are often overlooked and show compassionate care to our neighbors.
- Help our partners at Cornerstone Baptist Church provide meals and clean clothes to their neighbors experiencing homelessness.
Kitchen Sign Up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e094aaeae29aaf58-cornerstone4
Closet Sign Up: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e094aaeae29aaf58-cornerstone3
- Start collecting food from friends and neighbors for the PHPC Youth’s Souper Bowl of Caring Food Drive and drop off at the Youth House on Sunday, February 7th. Find out what foods are needed most here:
- Support organizations dedicated to the pursuit of racial equity, justice, and reconciliation, as well as local Black-owned businesses.
- Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.
- Texas Poor People’s Campaign is a moral fusion movement with people from of all faiths and backgrounds who are deeply committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation and to building unity across lines of division.
- Faith in Texas is a nonpartisan, multi-racial, multi-faith grassroots movement of people united in values working together to achieve economic, racial, and social justice for all people.
- Cornerstone’s Vendor Spotlight features local and independent artists, designers, and crafters from the Cornerstone community.
Expand your circle to include a diversity of perspectives, voices, stories, and relationships.
- Participate in a virtual Together We Dine event and have safe conversations over dinner about race. In the current health cautious environment, TWD has pivoted to a virtual format held via Zoom. Following an introduction of fellowship, facilitators will lead interactive small group discussions between participants about race, race relations and current events.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
5:30 PM – 7:00 pm
- Worship and study with The Gathering, A Womanist Church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) based in Dallas. The Gathering is a womanist church that exists to create worship experiences that address social justice issues through womanist preaching and action. It's not just for women, though - it's for women and men, where social justice is addressed through the gospel text in a way that raises prophetic voices and issues a rallying cry, speaking truth to power. It is about women and men working together to dismantle the systemic structures that seek to oppress people.
Services are on Saturdays at 6pm
- Meet three painters at the Bright Future Art Exhibit at contemporary gallery Ro2 Art in downtown Dallas. The show features works from Joshua Dodson, Kyle Hanson, and Loc Huynh and examines painting through the eyes of these three young artists. The exhibit will run through February 13th.
Saturday, January 16th, 12pm-5pm
Register for the free event here.