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Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Message Rings Loud and Clear

On the eve of this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, our congregation was privileged to welcome to our Sunday service the Rev. Dr. Charles Payne Lucas, Jr., Vicar of St. James A.M.E. Church here in Cleveland. Rev. Lucas, the youngest elected president (1972) of the Cleveland Branch of the N.A.A.C.P., was invited by Dr. Chalker to share his perspective on and experience with Dr. King’s teachings on non-violent protest.

Dr. Lucas spoke of being the victim at nine years of age of bricks thrown through his Cleveland home front window by the KKK and a cross burned in his front yard, in response to his family’s protests against segregation and “Jim Crow” mindsets, and how his father physically covered him on his living room floor to protect him from possible gunfire.

He spoke about being “at the front lines, at the front of the bus” as an adult in the marches in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, in Mississippi and Georgia in the Sixties.

He spoke about his return to Cleveland to find our divided East-Side – West-Side city in conflict about whether to invite Dr. King to even speak to our population about non-violent protest – about how love can conquer hate and violence. With time, though, Dr. King was eventually invited and spoke in Cory Church just up the street from us on E. 105th, and it took two additional nearby church sanctuaries with sound systems to accommodate all who came to hear him speak. As a result, it became clear to our city and to the country that Cleveland’s denominations and religions – indeed, its multitudes of caring people – were ready to follow non-violent pathways toward desegregation in this diverse city.

This past Sunday, as with virtually every Sunday at our Church in the Circle, we again “lived and breathed” the King message in our music, in our worship, in our interactions, in our diversity. And it was a singular privilege to have Rev. Lucas share his passionate message that love conquers hatred when loving people stand in its way…to eventually overcome.

As our whole congregation stood hand-in-hand, arms raised, at our service’s end to sing “We Shall Overcome,” (click HERE to see video), we exemplified…once again…this church’s decades-long dedication to human rights and to making positive change through example.

Where do you stand in this continuing mission to make love, not hate, our country's dominant force? A god of love wants to help you...all of us...make it happen. See you next Sunday.

An Early Christmas for Neighborhood Kids

Kids LOVE books! And thanks to your donations, each of the 365 kids in our adopted neighborhood school, Mary B. Martin Elementary, received a book for Christmas.

Our church took on the challenge of providing "a year's worth of books" – a book for every child – during this past Christmas season, and on Tuesday, December 16, we delivered on our promise! Interactions with the kids resulted in countless "Thank you's."

Thank you for helping make the Martin School kids extra happy this Christmas!

Now it's on to mentoring, reading, tutoring and making a difference. How can you help?

Contact Heather in our office for more information.


Neighborhood Basketball Resumes with New Schedule

Whether you play, help out or just want to know, our Neighborhood Basketball program, under the direction of Hassan Lee, is alive and well again in our indoor gym.

If you are interested in helping out or participating, please contact Heather in our church office (216-421-1200) for specific days and start-times.

It's nice to have the new scoreboard lit up once again! Maybe we'll see you there.