While Ames boasts many events celebrating Martin Luther King Day, Bethesda Lutheran Church will offer a place for worship and commemoration for all practices of faith.
On Sunday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m., Bethesda will serve as host to an interfaith event that has been held by different churches for years. The interfaith event presents diverse responses to the life, legacy and values of King.
Luther Seminary Pastoral Intern Christine Cowan says the goal of the event is to keep King’s infamous speech alive.
“Our main focus is to touch on how (King’s) values are shaping our actions,” Cowan says. “As wonderful as the speech was and as much as it continues to inspire us, there is so much more to Martin Luther King than that one moment in time.”
Cowan explained interfaith events branch out beyond one single religion and focus on all people of good will who agree on common values.
“Buddhist, Baha’i, Jewish, Muslim and Christian voices will be raised together in lifting up the message of equality we still need to hear and respond to in our civic life together,” Cowan says. “It is great seeing people from a number of faith traditions coming together around human rights and community building.”
The event was hosted for two years by Ames Jewish Congregation. Last year Episcopal Parish of Ames provided the interfaith opportunity. Cowan says the event usually draws about 75 to 100 people.
“It’s our turn to provide this opportunity and we’re happy to do it,” Cowan says. “We aim to provide a place for people to dream together.”
Bethesda’s celebration will feature reflections on King from an interfaith perspective. The event will consist of film clips from King’s speeches, singing and sharing stories. Time for communal meditation and prayer will be offered as well.
“On behalf of those who still suffer from discrimination and struggle for equality, we want to offer that time for prayer,” Cowan says. “We’re aiming to create a worship service in which people aren’t judged and can experience a common dream for a place in time when human dignity can be experienced by all.”
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