This Sunday morning and early afternoon we have three major events happening starting at 10:00 AM (or 8:50 AM if you would like to sing some joyous, uplifting freedom songs with the choir):
- Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday worship, full of his stirring words and favorite hymns, spirituals and freedom songs, with the children performing excerpts of his “I Have a Dream” speech and a sermon reflecting on where his dream went from there (see more details below);
- Farewell to our beloved congregation member, leader and friend, Gretchen Hannon, who will be moving to Maine in early February—the service will include a ritual of farewell and words of appreciation, followed by special refreshments;
- Fulfilling Our Vision conversation after refreshments: We will discuss whether our congregation will pursue a course of action in two areas that have been proposed: Black Lives Matter (or racism in general); and becoming an Open and Affirming congregation (open to and affirming of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities). The conversation will not aim to take any official stand, but it could set in motion an education and discussion process leading to a stand on one or both of these issues.
It is also a wonderful Sunday if you enjoy singing. Anyone may sing with the choir any Sunday by coming to rehearsal at 8:50 AM. This week the choir will sing the South African Freedom Song “Siyahamba (We Are Marching in the Light of God)” and the Civil Rights Movement song “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On.”
The congregation will sing two of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite hymns, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” and “Once to Every [Heart] and Nation,” as well as the Civil Rights Movement song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” (please be sure to watch the two amazing YouTube recordings of this one below—this is a homework assignment to prepare you to put your heart into the singing on Sunday!). The children will lead us in singing our recessional, “We Shall Overcome,” after they perform “I Have a Dream.”
We will read excerpts from many of King’s writings and a passage from the Prophet Isaiah and another from the Gospel of Luke (where Jesus reads from Isaiah). The sermon will trace a line from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to his groundbreaking talk at the Riverside Church in New York City, “A Time to Break Silence” and continue on to today to the logical extension of the prophetic dream that flowed through Isaiah, Jesus and King. It is God’s dream for humanity and for the earth, and it has come down to our generation to fulfill. Please listen to these YouTube recordings for inspiration and to prepare to sing this song on Sunday!