By RIM Reporter Robin Henshaw Hard

On April 17, 1960, during an interview on Meet the Press, Dr Marin Luther King, Jr said, “I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the most shameful tragedies, that at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hour in Christian America. I definitely think that the Christian church should be integrated.”
According to speaker Susan Harrison, right, Dr King also stated that his church would welcome white people into the worship service. This bold statement by Dr King sparked a curiosity and a quest to find an answer to a deeply troubling question. What are Americans missing by not worshipping together?
Local answers to this question materialized through field research and many hours in church.  Susan spent four-and-a-half hours in just one service, a stark difference from the one-hour service she typically attended weekly. She was always welcomed, she said, never questioned or thought of as suspicious.
But what did all this research accomplish besides many hours spent at the church? Just maybe Dr King knew something we didn’t know just yet. He knew, yes he believed, that we are all welcome at one another’s church. The spirit of GOD makes it so!
Susan learned and later wrote that, as human beings, if we surround ourselves with only those who think, look and act like we do, we miss the experience of humanity. We cannot understand others without inviting them to our table. We must open up the dialogue and create space for each another, just as GOD has done. The only way to move forward is to create interfaith and interdenominational groups that focus on changing the cultural and social constructs that continue to divide human beings into subgroups. In His presence, we are all the same human beings. We must see ourselves as one and work to achieve inclusion in all aspects of being.

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