From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Sharing 'Dr. King's dream'

Date Thu, 28 Aug 2003 15:32:10 -0500

Note #7909 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Sharing 'Dr. King's dream'
August 28, 2003

Sharing 'Dr. King's dream'

Clerk, moderator mark anniversary of '63 March on Washington

A joint statement by the moderator of the 215th General Assembly (2003) and
the stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
marking the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington:

This past weekend, Aug. 22-23, 2003, people from across the nation gathered
in Washington, DC to mark the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington.
The March in 1963 was highlighted by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
powerful and memorable speech, "I Have a Dream," and was considered by many
to be the turning point in the civil rights movement.

We are deeply grateful to Dr. King and to the countless others who have
followed him, working tirelessly for justice and freedom for all people. We
know that significant steps of progress have been made. We are also aware
that much, much more needs to be done for Dr. King's dream to be realized.

We call on all Presbyterians to join us in making a fresh commitment to work
for justice, jobs, and equal rights for all citizens in the United States.
Nowhere is this call better stated than in the words of Mary Jane Patterson.
On the 20th anniversary (1983) of the March on Washington, Mary Jane, who was
then the director of the Washington Office for the Presbyterian Church (USA),
shared her thoughts with those gathered at New York Avenue Presbyterian
Church in Washington, DC. We find her words to be timeless, and we want to
share with you excerpts of what she had to say then about the events of 1963:

(The March) came 100 years and 240 days after the signing of the Emancipation
Proclamation. It came like a force of nature, like a whirlwind, like a storm,
like a flood. It overwhelmed by its massiveness and finality. A
quarter-million people were in it, and of it, and millions more watched on TV
and huddled around radios ... If the March changed no votes in Congress or no
hearts in America, it did, at least, change the marchers themselves. Those
who thought, in the beginning, that it was too respectable, and those who
thought it was too radical; the young people who didn't want to wait another
minute, and the old ones who had waited for 81 and 82 and 94 years; the
smooth operators from New York and Chicago and the field hands from
Mississippi; the church women from Atlanta and the crowd from Harlem: for a
moment in time they were one ... Progress has been made since 1963, but the
masses of black people are still outside the camp. Unemployment among blacks
is twice as high a!
 s that of whites, and the gap between the average income of whites and
blacks is as wide today as it was in 1960. And so here we are - the gathering
fellowship of believers who love God and who love one another - and we will
go forth to march for equality.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us do our part to keep the dream alive
and to bring it to fruition.


The Rev. Susan R. Andrews, moderator of the 215th General Assembly (2003) of
the Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church (USA)

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