Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Justice, mercy, and equality for all

Honoring King’s legacy at the Global Ministries annual spring board meeting

By Bella Simonetti*

ATLANTA, Georgia – “Part of the reason for the move to Atlanta is to continue to build on the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Thomas Kemper, general secretary for the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

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Staff and board members for Global Ministries and UMCOR gathered in Grace United Methodist Church’s sanctuary for a worship service to begin the annual spring board meeting. PHOTO: JENNIFER SILVER

The theme of the spring board meeting April 12-14, 2018 at Grace United Methodist Church in Atlanta was “Now is the Time.” Board members and staff alike raised their voices in song and remembrance of Rev. Dr. King during the opening worship service. Signs marking the call for civil rights hung around the altar as the music and message reinforced the theme.

“The 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination gives us the opportunity not only to celebrate his life and witness, but also to remember our ongoing civil rights pilgrimage and commitments,” said Kemper.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, the Resident Bishop of the West Ohio Conference, shared a message from Isaiah 42 during the service, impressing on listeners the overall theme.

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Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Resident Bishop of West Ohio Annual Conference, preached to staff and board members of Global Ministries and UMCOR. PHOTO: JENNIFER SILVER


“The question is not, ‘What did King do?’” said Bishop Palmer. “But the question for us is, ‘What will we do?’ when we get out of the box of the single person we are, and become servant-leaders?”

“Dear sisters and brothers, let us give thanks for the life and witness of the Rev. Dr. King and for the many other anonymous ancestors who came before us, working to bring God’s shalom to this world. May we honor their legacy, may we live out our faith in the resurrected Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, by recognizing that now is the time for justice,” Palmer said as his voice echoed in the sanctuary.

Palmer emphasized Global Ministries and UMCOR are positioned to continue Dr. King’s civil rights work. “In all the violence, I hear a yearning and a clarion call for the people of God in Christ Jesus, will you not stand up,” Palmer asked. “Will we not stand up and be in those places where people are hurting and bruised? We can do better, and we must.”

*Bella Simonetti is a communication specialist from Mission Engagement for Global Ministries.