This year the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture took the form of worship and conversation at Drew Theological School. The Black Ministerial Caucus was pleased to host a powerful opportunity of worship, reflection, challenge and education on a historic day in the life of the University. Our morning began in Craig Chapel where the community gathered and received “the beloved community,” a symbolic group of students and faculty, who processed while singing “We’ve Come This Far By Faith.” After prayer by MDiv student Chalyce Bowden and a warm welcome from Dean Kuan we explored how far we have come by listening to Dr. King’s words from “The American Dream,” delivered at Drew 49 years earlier to the day on February 5, 1964, and available online in audio and transcript formats. MDiv student Rodney Lynch then read a portion concerned with the “maladjusted” and King’s use of the word to highlight those who would be maladjusted to the social ills of the day and seek non-violent social change as a result.
After a moving solo by Master of Divinity student Danielle Williams we were blessed to hear from the Rev. Michael Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. Picking up the theme from the King reading, our preacher for the morning offered us a sermon entitled “A New Message for the ‘Maladjusted’,” viewable on the Drew Worship Facebook Page. Using a text from Romans, the Rev. Walrond preached a powerful, challenging, and moving sermon connecting “The American Dream” speech, the King legacy, and the way forward for the domain of social justice in the United States and in the world.
After chapel, the community gathered for lunch and moved to Seminary Hall 101 for a conversation with Rev. Walrond, Dean Kuan, several of our esteemed faculty and students on the King Legacy and social justice in a modern global context. We again engaged with the creative and theological mind of Rev. Walrond as we discussed topics ranging from church leadership to human rights. Time, however, was not on our side as we only had one hour together, but we look forward to new opportunities to engage Rev. Walrond and invite him again to the Forest, launching a new series of conversations with leaders on the front line of ministry.
–Fred Sullivan II, MDiv Student and President of the Black Ministerial Caucus