A call to justice: How will the church respond?

March 12th, 2015

President Obama's recent speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery offered both a memorial look back at and a present call to the work of social justice and inclusivity. As the life of the church is so deeply tied to such work, Ministry Matters sought discussions and responses to the speech from church leaders.

This page — a collection of articles, podcasts and videos — features responses from across the ecumenical spectrum, each one paying close attention to the message within the President's words and to what such a message could mean for church identity, practice and communal outreach. We hope and pray that these resources will foster ongoing discussion and action from readers, lay leaders and clergy members. Enjoy and engage.

Embracing Multiracial America
by Bishop Scott J. Jones

Anniversaries are special times. We remember the past and tell the stories that have shaped our lives. We celebrate old victories and renew long-standing relationships. We ask hard questions about why things happened and discuss what might have been. We also think about our values and envision a future that can move forward from where we are and where we have been. READ MORE

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Future Hope and Current Truths
by Bishop Julius C. Trimble

President Obama gave, what I believe to be, one of the greatest speeches by a president as he commemorated this historic march. In his speech — with an emphasis on the inclusive “we” as Americans encouraged to shed our “cynicism” — he affirmed that black lives matter and cast a vision for all people. All citizens are responsible for “perfecting the Union.” READ MORE

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Crossing Bridges Together
by The Right Reverend David Rice

What happened on that bridge in Selma fifty years ago certainly didn't stay on that bridge. And, I would suggest, those who crossed Selma's bridge fifty years past ask us not only to remember their crossing but to give thought and prayer to the ways in which we consider those who cross bridges in our own time. READ MORE 

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Sermon at Selma
by Mark Lockard


The word emanated and echoed from the crowd as President Obama addressed those gathered to commemorate the 50th
 anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama. And preach he did. READ MORE

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