Porch Talks for a Beloved Community

A speaker series of Heights Christian Church, now in partnership with East View UCC and Plymouth UCC,  in which social justice leaders share their prophetic voices, to provide a continued call to work toward the Beloved Community imagined by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free and open to the community – bring a friend! 

Saturday, August 12th at 5:30 pm a Success! 

While the threat of rain drove us inside, our 2023 Porch Talk was a success! Heights Christian Church partnered with East View UCC and Plymouth UCC to present a talk by the Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle. This annual event continues the call to racial and social justice described by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he spoke from the steps of the church in 1965. 

On August 12, 2023, our keynote speaker, Dr. McMickle, spoke on “No Room at the Inn, part 2” and described the many ways we still sing “We Shall Overcome,” because the work towards justice and equity has not been completed. He said, “It occurs to me that I have been singing that song for over sixty-years. Today I got stuck on the word ‘shall.’ For sixty years I have been singing about an aspiration that somehow, someday we shall overcome. Why are we still singing about freedom as an aspiration? Why have we not overcome already?”  He read from the book of Esther and spoke of being alive in “such a time as this,” declaring that we have work to do to continue to realize King’s dream of Beloved Community.

Dr. McMickle is a resident of Shaker Heights and an American Baptist minister who has served at Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, and as President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. A nationally renowned author and speaker, he has published 14 books on preaching, liberation theology and contemporary ministry. His recent book, Let the Oppressed Go Free explores theologies of liberation.

A combined choir with members of all three congregations sang and a  reception followed the presentation. HCC is grateful for the opportunity to partner with neighboring congregations and for the enthusiastic response by the community. Stay tuned as plans progress for our 2024 Porch Talk!















Click here for archived information about the 2019 Porch Talks.

Heights Christian Church is a racially integrated congregation in Shaker Heights, Ohio, an intentionally racially integrated suburb of Cleveland. Our congregation has a legacy of speaking out regarding matters of social justice, particularly racial reconciliation.

In July 1965 we took the initiative to invite the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at our church. While many people reacted with fear and prejudice, our leadership persevered and Dr. King spoke from a porch of our church to a huge crowd assembled on the church property. (See footage here: https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/history/)

Dr. King often spoke of his vision of the “Beloved Community.”  On its website, The King Center says of that vision:

“In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated  because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of  sisterhood and brotherhood.”

The work to achieve that goal continues at Heights Christian Church. 

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