Martin Luther King Readings

For several years various local churches have shared a reading of "A Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday and memory.  King's letter is a response to a letter from eight well-meaning clergy urging him to change his actions.  How wonderful if this year every local church would carve out time to share this experience!  The reading (about 20-25 minutes) has been done in many different ways by local churches: Sunday after church, Sunday as a focus during the church service, Monday on King's birthday holiday during lunch hour or in the evening.  Advertising on church signs and other venues encourages community participation.  Some have a simple time of silence and a hymn after the reading; others offer time for conversation and discussion.

Please use this link to download the letters.  People of color have carefully abridged King's original letter to capture the essence of his message while keeping the reading to a reasonable time.  We take their direction in this and ask you to read (1) the letter to King from clergy that prompted his response, and (2) the abbreviated version [in bold and yellow highlight] of King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".  We include the entire letter, of course; some may want to have copies available for those wanting it in its entirety.

If your local church wants to participate, please ask someone in your congregation to do the reading.  If no one will do so, the Conference's task force on Dismantling Racism & White Privilege will provide a reader.  Our dream is that people in every local church and community have the opportunity to be moved by this compelling experience.