Dear First Church,
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of action and remembrance, we will have several opportunities to connect to social justice, community, and the legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
First, on Sunday, January 17th at 10 am we will email our worship service with a sermon written for and sent from The Rev. Dr. Jeannette Zaragoza in Puerto Rico. Rev. Dr. Zaragoza did he PhD at Yale Divinity School on the interpreters of the Amistad trials that took place here in Connecticut. She works across the United Church of Christ in organizing and Social Justice. For those who attend the RSVP in-person worship, we will have our full normal service but the sermon portion will be projected from Puerto Rico like we did for the Virtual Pageant Sunday.
Second, the Shoreline tradition of the Branford MLK Breakfast is continuing and everyone is welcome to attend... on Zoom! This year’s Breakfast honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will welcome Jane Elliott, known for her “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” experiment, who will challenge our perspectives on racism, and bring awareness to how this pervasive issue affects our daily lives. Keith Kountz, from News Channel 8, will moderate. Click here to register for this important event.
This week, Rev. Jake caught up by telephone with First Church member and Civil Rights leader, The Rev. Dr. Robert (Bob) Raines who was one of our keynote speaker at last year's MLK Sunday Service. Click here and then on the headphones icon on the bottom left of the screen to listen to last year's 2020 service, "Hearing the Voices of Justice," from the sanctuary of First Church.
When asked what his message for 2021 would be, Bob offered, "Every MLK Sunday, we must ask again, 'What are we doing now or what should we be doing to fulfill King's legacy?' We must do this not only with slogans but also with systematic change. We must examine white privilege and the dynamics of systemic racism in the world and at First Church and in Guilford. May the memory of King offer us courage and empower us to do more even and especially when it is scary."
With these words of encouragement and commitment, we now hear these quotes from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
“There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”
“Let no one pull you so low as to hate them.”
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but must take it because their conscience tells them it is right.”
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.”
“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
The Clergy and Staff of First Church