We will be observing Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday at the United Church of Strafford on the 14th. It is one of the most inspiring services of the year, for many reasons. It reminds us of what is possible, which is far more than what we often allow ourselves to imagine. We remember not just King, but the many other outstanding leaders and the thousands of people like us who made the Movement what it was.
Here are a few ways you can be part of the observances:
We invite any of you who enjoy singing to come at 9:00 AM and join the choir for this Sunday. It will be a special combined youth and adult choir that will sing some of the empowering, uplifting songs of the Civil Rights Movement, including Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Stayed on Freedom, and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize. We will also sing This Little Light of Mine and We Shall Overcome as a congregation, as well as two other hymns that were important to King and the Movement. We hope families will come and sing together.
You are also invited to the 10:00 AM for worship to listen to the choir and sing the hymns and read and hear the words of Martin Luther King Jr and reflect on what the Spirit that called him is calling us to do today. Bill Coffin was talking with someone at a Strafford gathering many years ago who had worked her whole life on an issue and felt society had made no progress. She was lamenting to Bill that her life was a failure. He asked her, “Who told you that you had to solve the whole problem yourself?” He said she was just a runner in a relay race. It was her job to carry the baton and run her heart out, and then hand it on to someone else. King and Coffin and so many others have run before us and handed us the baton. What is our race to run now, individually, as a church, as a community?
We will have refreshments after worship and then around 11:45 Civil Rights Movement veteran and Dartmouth emeritus Professor of History, Bruce Nelson, will give an hour presentation on some of the songs and singers in the Civil Rights Movement and the role they played in specific campaigns. This is a continuation of the program that we held in the church last Sunday, so if you missed it, here is a second chance, and if you were there, this is an opportunity to go more deeply into it. It will be particularly meaningful after singing and feeling the power of several of those songs.
Thank you for everything you do to make Strafford a beloved community. There is no peace in the world without peace in the nation, no peace in the nation without peace in the town, no peace in the town without peace in the home, no peace in the home without peace in the heart. We couldn’t have peace without you doing your part.