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! 

CONNIE SCHULTZ TO SPEAK Aug. 24th at  5:30 pm 

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and New York Times bestselling novelist Connie Schultz will be the speaker for this year’s installment in the Porch Talks for a Beloved Community social-justice series in Shaker Heights.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 24, at East View United Church of Christ, 17300 Van Aken Blvd., the site where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke from a porch to a large crowd 59 years ago.

The Porch Talk is free and open to the public, and will be held outdoors unless inclement weather requires a move inside. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.

In awarding Schultz the Pulitzer for Commentary in 2005, the judges praised her Cleveland Plain Dealer columns for providing “a voice for the underdog and the underprivileged.” She wrote for The Plain Dealer from 1993 to 2011, the last nine of those years as a columnist.

She also has been a columnist for Creators Syndicate and USA Today and an essayist for Parade, and currently writes Hopefully Yours, an ongoing conversation about the daily mess of life,” on Substack.

In addition, Schultz is the author of four books: Life Happens – And Other Unavoidable Truths, a collection of essays; …and His Lovely Wife, a memoir about her husband Sherrod Browns successful 2006 race for the U.S. Senate; The Daughters of Erietown, a novel; and Lola and the Troll, a childrens book which was published in February of this year.

Since last year she has served as Professor of Practice in Journalism at Denison University, after having taught for seven years in the journalism school of her alma mater, Kent State University.

At the time when Dr. King spoke from the porch, the building was the home of Heights Christian Church, which in 2021 transferred the structure to East View and moved to the Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church UCC, also in Shaker Heights. All three churches are participating in this year’s Porch Talk, and inspirational music will be provided by a combined choir with members from all three sponsoring congregations.

In July 1965, Heights Christian Church leaders took the initiative to invite Dr. King to speak at the church, which provoked controversy within the congregation and the community. But despite the temporary removal of the pews by a faction of the members, plus bomb threats and protesters, Dr. King came and spoke from a porch of the church to a diverse crowd that would have been too large to fit inside the sanctuary.

The Porch Talks series provides a continued call to work toward the Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned, where all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of kinship, justice, and peace. 



















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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