This Monday (January 17, 2022) many Americans will celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent leader in our nation’s history. Dr. King’s witness and leadership inspired countless people during the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, his courage and vision are still a source of inspiration for today, not only in the U.S., but also around the world!
Dr. King is remembered for his courageous leadership, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” pastoral presence, books, “I Have a Dream” and other speeches and prominence in the civil rights movement. His legacy is a reminder of the difference one person’s life can make, not only to those who know them best, but also to a country and world.
To honor Dr. King and other leaders who left a legacy through the civil rights movement, I encourage all United Methodists in the Holston Conference to participate in some of the following or similar actions this weekend.
- Spend some time thanking God for the life of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Also, ask God to reveal a tangible way for you to take a next step in dismantling racism.
- Read Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” https://www.csuchico.edu/iege/_assets/documents/susi-letter-from-birmingham-jail.pdf
- Make a donation in honor or in memory of a person of color to the Southeastern Jurisdiction Black Methodists for Church Renewal student scholarship. https://bmcrumc.org/category/resources/scholarships
- Participate in a local community observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- Visit a civil rights museum or exhibit in your area.
- Have a conversation with a friend who has a different perspective on racism than you.
- Write an anti-racism mission statement for your daily life.
- Build an anti-racism personal library including books and documentaries.
- Participate in acts of service. (Mrs. Coretta King’s vision for this national holiday honoring her late husband was for it to also be a day of service).
I thank God for the difference Dr. King and others in the civil rights movement made in our nation’s history. May we do the same in the contexts where we live and serve.
As always, it is a joy to serve as your bishop.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Holston and North Alabama Conferences
The Reverend Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett was elected a Bishop of the United Methodist Church at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. At the time of her election, she was the lead pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington, ...