Church House honours civil rights leader’s legacy

martin luther king LJ edit 2On 5 April 1968, Britain awoke to the shocking news of the Revd Dr Martin Luther King’s assassination. Fifty years later, staff at the United Reformed Church’s London office, joined the thousands worldwide in commemorating the eminent civil rights leader’s life, in the wake of the anniversary of his untimely death.

The Revd John Proctor, General Secretary for the URC, led a commemoration service, including a two-minute silence, and spoke of the similarities between Dr King and the Church.

CH staff LJ edit 3Mr Proctor said: ‘The values that Martin Luther King promoted are shared not only with the URC but very much among people of different faith traditions, and none, across the world. Dr King’s courage and influence are quite outstanding as a figure in recent history. He is someone who is worthy to be honoured by people from many different people backgrounds and nations.’

He then shared key details about the civil rights leader’s life before inviting staff members to read some of Dr King’s famous sayings, including: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that;’ and the famous words from Dr King’s highly regarded ‘I have a Dream’ speech: ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.’

Charissa King, who works for the URC’s national magazine, Reform, described the commemoration as moving and ‘a fitting tribute to one of the world’s best loved orators’.

She said: ‘That a Church so committed to justice, discipleship and peace should commemorate a Nobel Prize-winning pastor who shared these same values was especially heartening to witness.’

CH group staffHelen Munt, PA to Mr Proctor and Mrs Jane Baird, Deputy General Secretary (Administration and Resources), added: ‘I was really moved. I didn’t expect to be as moved as I was. It was remarkable just hearing about the impact that one man can have.’

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr here.