Unity in the Community: McDonough First Hosts Ecumenical MLK Worship


Two years ago, Rev. Charles E. Jackson, a retired elder in the North Georgia Conference, had a conversation with JB Bass, a Lay Speaker from McDonough First UMC, and community pastors about an MLK, Jr. Ecumenical Worship Service honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The response was positive, so in October 2019 Jackson and Bass started planning the service.  The mission of this service was to bring the faith community together across denominations, genders, and races, united as brothers and sisters. We were striving to become the Beloved Community that Dr. King spoke of when he said, “a community in which people of difference backgrounds recognize that we are all interconnected and that our individual well-being is inextricably linked to the well-being of others.”

More than 150 participants from United Methodist churches, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Episcopalian, Baptist and other faith communities, along with  local businesses and government officials, attended the "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 'Unity in the Community' Ecumenical Worship Service of Hope, Peace, and Unity," on January 13, 2019, hosted at McDonough First United Methodist Church.

Rev.  Carol Cook, pastor of McDonough First UMC gave the message. Her sermon, “Team Work Is Dream Work,” mirrored Dr. King’s famous Beloved Community Quote. In her sermon she said, “God desires for us to live in unity; it grieves Him when we’re separated. Unity is being in oneness of heart and similarity of purpose. It’s not that we all believe the same thing, but that being together and living together in peace is what’s truly important”. 

"The service was powerful and spirit-filled with a sense of excitement,” said Rev. Cook. "Community members said they were so glad to have been asked to participate. It was a great opportunity to get to know one another."

JB Bass commented that this was one of the most powerful worship services he has ever attended. 

"The energy was electric. If only we could have bottled it up it would have completely lit the night sky!” said Bass. "The opportunity we have now is to move this energy forward and become 'the Light that unites.'"