By Rev. Erin Martin

The Greater Northwest Area Cabinet continued its commitment to #ResistHarm on Tuesday, February 11 during their regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting in Salem, OR.

In honor of Black History Month (and Valentine’s Day) members of the Cabinet dressed in red and read excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon entitled, “A Knock at Midnight” published in King’s book, “Strength to Love.”

Greater NW Area Cabinet members take time to remember the powerful words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while recommitting to pursue justice. Photos by Rev. David Valera.

The powerful sermon is based on the parable from Luke 11. It compares the story of a visitor who knocks on the door of a friend at midnight seeking bread — and is denied — to spiritually hungry people knocking on the door of the church and being denied. King equates midnight in the parable to the circumstances of darkness in our world to suggest that it is midnight for us as well.

Cabinet members took a moment to name the situations of midnight that surround local communities and society: climate crisis, increased gun violence, separation of immigrant families at the border and more. This was done to call on Cabinet members to recognize that darkness marks the world. Now, more than ever, the world looks to the church to offer the bread of hope in tangible ways.
After reading portions of the sermon, Cabinet members reminded themselves that King was clear that “darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky passes the light to Seven Rivers DS Joanne Coleman Campbell.

A light was passed between each of the Cabinet members. We then passed the light to each other as a symbolic gesture of their increased commitment to be light in the world. They did this while singing the South African freedom song by Archbishop Tutu that proclaims, “Goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hate, light is stronger than darkness and life is stronger than death.”

Both the Cabinet and the GNW Guiding Coalition are continuing to plan for a future of United Methodism in the Northwest that fully includes LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the Church. Additionally, they are continuing to learn and to foster practices, each time they meet, that will help the Area to center voices that are younger and more diverse, recognizing that there is both wisdom and vitality around a table with distinct perspectives. 

Rev. Erin Martin serves as Superintendent for the Columbia District in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

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