Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 14, 2022

Dear Friends,

This Monday (January 17, 2022) many Americans will celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent leader in our nation’s history. Dr. King’s witness and leadership inspired countless people during the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Indeed, his courage and vision are still a source of inspiration for many today, not only in the U.S., but also around the world!

Dr. King is remembered for his courageous leadership, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” pastoral presence, books, “I Have a Dream” and other speeches, and prominence in the civil rights movement. His legacy is a reminder of the difference one person’s life can make, not only to those who know them best, but also to a country and world.

To honor Dr. King and others who left a legacy through the U.S. civil rights movement, I encourage all United Methodists in the North Alabama Conference to participate in some of the following or similar actions this weekend.

  1. Spend time thanking God for the life of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Also, ask God to reveal a tangible way for you to take a next step in dismantling racism. 
  2. Read Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
  3. Make a donation in honor or memory of a person of color to the Southeastern Jurisdiction Black Methodists for Church Renewal student scholarship fund.
  4. Participate in a local community observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
  5. Visit a civil rights museum or exhibit in your area.
  6. Have a conversation with a friend who has a different perspective on racism than you.
  7. Review the A (awareness) R (relationship) and C (commitment) principles for dismantling racism adopted in 2020 by the North Alabama Conference Leadership team in partnership with the Multicultural team.  
  8. Participate in acts of service. (Mrs. Coretta King’s vision for this national holiday honoring her late husband was for it to be a day of service). 

I thank God for the difference Dr. King and others in the civil rights movement made in our nation’s history. May we do the same in the contexts where we live and serve.

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
Holston and North Alabama Conferences

Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.