Hear the Prophet: Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 6:30 pm in Wightman Chapel a special service of Vespers & All That Jazz will honor Dr. King and his legacy. We will remember Dr. King. We will hear from his speeches, especially the one he gave in Wightman Chapel on April 25, 1957. We will hear once again his passion for justice and peace. We will also experience the music that undergirds his fight for righteousness and justice for all of God’s children.

At the meeting of the Conference on Christian Faith and Human Relations on April 25, 1957 Dr. King said: “In the midst of all of our scientific and technological advances, we still suffer the plague of racial conflict. We have not learned the simple art of loving our neighbors, and respecting the dignity and worth of all human personality. Through our scientific genius, we have made of the world, a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual geniuses, we have failed to make of our own nation a brotherhood [and sisterhood]. This is the chief moral dilemma of our nation. .. The broad universalism standing at the center of the Gospel makes brotherhood [and sisterhood] morality inescapable. Racial segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we have in Christ. Segregation [and racism] is a tragic evil which is utterly un-Christian.” These words are still true today and our nation is still suffering from the hate and violence of racism.

Included in the service will be readings from the writings of Dr. King, hymns speaking of justice and peace, scripture, prayers, and poetry. The music will include : CWM RHONDDA (“God of Grace and God of Glory”) by John Hughes; KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE (“Martin’s Dream”) by Robert Manuel Sr./ Hezekiah Brinson, Jr.; “Precious Lord” by Thomas Dorsey, after MAITLAN; ST. THOMAS (“Let Justice Flow Like Streams”) by Aaron Williams; REPTON (“I Have a Dream”) by Charles H.H. Parry; and “Amen”, traditional spiritual after J. Hairston.
Musicians: Kevin Madill, piano; Matt Davich, woodwinds, John Ownby, bass, and Connye Florance, soloist.

Share with me this portion of a prayer by Walter Brueggemann: “O God we remember Martin in gratitude and chagrin. And we pledge, amid our stressed ambiguities, to dream as he did, to walk the walk, and to talk the talk of your coming kingdom. We pledge, so sure that your truth will not stop its march until your will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen”

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.