|Church leaders seek to ?dismantle racism? for MLK Day|
This year will mark the 21st anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
A UMNS photo © John C. Goodwin. Used only with permission.
By ELCA News Service*
Jan. 12, 2007
In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, U.S. Christian church
leaders urged their congregations to join other congregations in their
communities to "discern ways to exercise common witness and common
service as together we seek to dismantle racism and, in so doing, to be
the voice and presence of God's love in the world."
United Methodist Bishop William Oden, ecumenical officer, United
Methodist Council of Bishops, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and nine other Christian
church leaders - many of them heads of communion - endorsed the
statement issued through Churches Uniting in Christ.
CUIC is a relationship of 10 member churches "that have pledged to
live more closely together in expressing their unity in Christ and to
combat racism together," according to the organization's Web site. The
United Methodist Church is a member and the ELCA is a "partner in
mission and dialogue."
The church leaders noted in their statement that Jan. 15 marks the
21st anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the fifth
anniversary of CUIC. On Jan. 21, 2002, the church leaders, representing
10 denominations, assembled in Memphis at the historic Lorraine Motel,
site of King's assassination in 1968.
"They gathered to sign an agreement committing the members and partners
in mission of CUIC to express their unity in Christ by living more
closely together and working together to combat racism in the church and
in society. In their statement, the heads of communion affirmed that we
must hold a common vision for God's Beloved Community that is a
community 'committed to eradicating racism and making no peace with
oppression,'" the statement said.
The words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
are lifted up in a new statement by U.S. church leaders: "There is a
power in love that our world has not discovered yet."
A UMNS photo © John C. Goodwin.
Used only with permission.
The church leaders said that CUIC members are called to be
"ambassadors of reconciliation" in a world sold on the idolatries of
privilege and racial exclusivity that continue to divide and alienate
the family of God, denying the truth that we are all created in the
image of the one God.
"Common witness and service are two marks of our unity in Christ. Our
partnership in CUIC recognizes that one barrier to the expression of
unity in the Christian family is the continuing reality of racism in the
church and in the human community," the church leaders' statement said.
The church leaders said the vision of CUIC is that "authentic unity may
be born in the struggle for racial justice, and that our collective
prophetic witness against injustice and oppression in all forms is a
measure of our faithfulness to the gospel."
The church leaders added that they are reminded there is still much
to be done to dismantle and eradicate racism, and they hope their
efforts will not be in vain.
"We believe in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'There is a power
in love that our world has not discovered yet,'" the statement
Other denominational heads of communion and senior church leaders who
signed the statement represented the African Methodist Episcopal
Church; African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ); Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; the
Episcopal Church; International Council of Community Churches; Moravian
Church Northern Province; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and United Church
*This story was provided by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America News Service.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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