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2021 MLK Day comes at a time of social distancing, social division

People of different religious backgrounds coming together to close divide
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Posted at 3:18 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 16:18:59-05

There’s power in being part of change.

“We all want to have unity,” said Ken Brown, senior pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver, Colorado. “But at some point, you have to start practicing it.”

This Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Brown and other religious leaders are practicing what they preach and putting aspiration into action through an online religious service welcoming those of all faiths.

Inside the Congregation Rodef Shalom synagogue, Brown and others are streaming a service called “Beloved Community” to celebrate the social justice icon.

“Martin Luther King Jr. would be so happy to see Jews and Christians coming together for this common cause,” said student rabbi Kolby Morris-Dahary of Judaism Your Way.

The Jewish, Baptist and Methodist members in this group are using the power of prayer and technology to spread the messages of Dr. MLK Jr.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or how you worship or what you do, we can still come together and celebrate someone like Dr. King,” said Larea Edwards of the singing group Spirit of Grace.

While much the world is locked down during the COVID-19 crisis, these different religious leaders are opening up conversations aimed at ending systemic racism while also celebrating Dr. King, virtually.

“While we’re in the midst of the pandemic, there’s also a global pandemic of racial justice and we have to create a way to come together,” Brown said.

He and others believe this interfaith service is helping create that unity by teaming up with people during this emotional online service.

“That’s really our mission in our friendship and in our work is to build these bridges between these groups,” Morris-Dahary said.

They are groups that might not be able to hold hands due to COVID-19, but can hold each other’s hearts while honoring a hero.

Edwards explains the importance.

“Christians, Jews, Blacks, whites, straights, it doesn’t matter what you are,” she said. “We can all get together and do something that is going to unify us.”

And be a part of change for better on a day meant to honor an icon.