Lenten Program: Letter from a Birmingham JailIn April of 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr sat in the wilderness of a jail in Birmingham, Alabama. He had been arrested for leading a march of African Americans -- in the heart of the segregated South -- calling for an Easter boycott of white-owned stores. He did this as an act of faith-inspired civil disobedience. The courts had ordered him not to march. He did not have a permit, but his faith led him to march anyway.While in jail, eight white moderate clergymen published an article in The Birmingham News that was critical of Dr. King, his methods, and the marches he organized. In his own handwriting on scrap pieces of newspaper, Dr. King composed a response to the statement of the white clergy in a writing known as the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."In the social and political wilderness of 2019, Dr. King's words provide as great and poignant a faith challenge as they did in 1963. And so, our special Lenten program this year will be a three-part study of Dr. King's "Letter" - March 10, 17, 31 - led by Rev. Nancy Elder-Wilfred, Rev. Sally Norris, and Rev. Wesley Williams; we will gather immediately after church in the Meeting Room for the program; bring a bag lunch if you want!Here are two websites with the text of the "Letter" so you may begin reading in advance:As part of this program, we are delighted to welcome the Rev. Wesley Williams as our guest preacher on March 31st. Rev. Williams is a retired United Methodist minister whose ministerial heritage extends back to American slavery. He served United Methodist Churches in New England for thirty-seven years before retiring in 2013. In addition to serving local parishes, he served as the urban minister for the United Methodist denomination, primarily in greater Boston, where his ministry concentrated on improving and supporting education for Latino youth, community policing, and cross-cultural, cross racial relationships between churches, both United Methodist and other denominations.Lent is the time when we, as those who seek to follow Jesus, mirror the time he spent in the wilderness. This study will enable us to examine many of the assumptions and perspectives which inform our personal and societal wildernesses, so that we may become more urgent and faith-filled advocates for building the "beloved community" which Jesus calls us to do.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. commontexts.org. Used by permission. Provided by the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ – made possible by Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support and Fellowship Dues.