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Safe Harbor Family Church hosts ecumenical MLK celebration

Special to The Clinton Courier

MLK Ecumenical Service

On January 16, Safe Harbor Family Church (United Church of Christ) in Clinton hosted six area congregations to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to recommit to the work of racial justice.

“It’s important to keep telling the story,” noted Rev. Maxine Bolden, Chaplain of Tougaloo College. She shared a portion of Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Following the reading, the Rev. Dr. Lorenzo Neal, Pastor of New Bethel American Methodist Episcopal, led congregants in a covenant prayer of recommitment to justice. Readings were complemented by a performance by Street to Rhythm, the dance troupe from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson.

Safe Harbor Family Church organized the ecumenical service in order to keep the story alive.

“When we gather for a service like this, we gather across racial divisions, without regard for political parties, and with love in our hearts,” notes the Rev. Dr. Shelli Poe, Pastor of Safe Harbor. “By doing so, we demonstrate to each other and to our wider communities that we want to learn the lessons of our history and do whatever we can to make life better for each person who lives here in our city and state.”

Safe Harbor’s vision is to be an inclusive, grace-filled community whose members and friends come from all walks of life – all races and ethnicities, young and old, LGB and straight, trans and cisgender, with and without disabilities, in recovery and allies – to grow in relationship with God, one another, and creation. As a community, they are committed to justice and advocacy for the hurt, the hungry, and the excluded.

Other clergy who participated in the service include Rev. Courtney Stamey, Senior Pastor of Northside Baptist Church; Rev. Justin McCreary, Pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson; and Rev. Suzanna Keen Hyland, Associate Pastor of Wells United Methodist Church.

This is the second time Safe Harbor has hosted an ecumenical service on MLK weekend, and they plan to make it an annual celebration.

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