DR. KING: 40 Years – Life, Death, Unfinished Business

“Where Do We Go from Here?”
An Artown Weekend in Word and Song

July 25-26-27, 2008
Sponsored in part by Nevada Humanities & NEH

Words of Howard Thurman, author
Jesus and the Disinherited
DEEP RIVER: The Negro Spiritual Speaks of Life and Death
(books available)

Who are the “dissed” today — disinherited, disenfranchised, dispossessed, disrespected — how do we get back our piece of the promise, the dream?


Rev. Dr. Dorsey O. Blake, Pastor of The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples (founded by Dr. Thurman!) in San Francisco, and Professor of Spirituality and Prophetic Justice at Starr King School for the Ministry

Ms. Patricia Esters, Renowned Teacher and Performer — Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Spirituals — with MA in Sacred Music
Supported by the Second Baptist Church Choir and others


FRIDAY, July 25 – 7:00 p.m.

  • Pat Esters introducing spirituals for the weekend, “Language of Disinherited” for all times
  • Dorsey Blake introducing the thought of Howard Thurman and Dr. King
  • “Blind Man Stood on the Road and Cried” — What Keeps US from Seeing the ‘Disinherited’?

    HELP US CREATE A COLLAGE, “Tent City & Others” — Photos, paintings, drawings, power-point, etc. — showing “Disinherited” in our lives & others. Add to it all weekend!

    First part of the movie At the River I Stand, Dr. King in Memphis, 1968


  • 10:00 a.m Pat Esters, Spirituals continue in tradition
  • Dorsey Blake: Wade in the Water — Dr. King reclaims “inheritance” through nonviolent social change: Montgomery to Memphis – Motivation to Mobilization!
  • 2nd part of movie At the River I Stand, Dr. King in Memphis, 1968
  • 12 Noon — Community Lunch / Community Singing: Bring voice, instruments and collage!
  • 1:30 PM – Where We Go from Here – in Word, Song, & Options for Action
  • Hush, Hush, Somebody’s Calling MY Name!
  • Excerpts Light of Change concert DVD.

SUNDAY, July 27 – 8:00 a.m and 10:00 a.m. Worship, Singing
Dorsey Blake preaching – “Plenty Good Room: Dr. King and the World House”
9:00 a.m. — Open Conversation


John Auer, Pastor
On the river in downtown Reno, Nevada
209 West First St.
Validated Parking 1st & Sierra garage
(775) 322-4564, 322-1013 

Remembering King by forgetting him

Back to the 6-29-2008 Barbwire

Forty years after his death, American activist Martin Luther King, Jr. still inspires those in Nevada and elsewhere looking to build a 'beloved community.'
Reno Gazette-Journal 3-30-3008

Message from Rev. John Auer

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following was published in advance of the April MLK events]

Dr. King Anniversary Event — Looking for all the help we can get

Brothers and Sisters:

I have not had the chance to reach as many personally about this proposed event as I would like. You know how busy the time is — "fierce urgency of now!" The event is being worked on by members of First United Methodist Church — including Ira Greene (known Rev. Lawson for 30 years!), Rupert Seals, and LD Lovett. So far other organizations interested in sponsoring or supporting the event include the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), the Latino Research Center and Great Basin Peace Action/Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace.

I would love to hear from persons as well as groups and congregations who are interested in planning and carrying through and inviting persons (especially young persons) to the events of this weekend.

PLEASE feel free to respond with any questions or concerns as well as interests and commitments. My phone numbers are (775) 322-4564 or 322-2013.

Just to let you know where my heart for this is coming from — Julie and I were less than three years into our marriage and had spent two of those years in the Peace Corps and had no idea what to do next — when Dr. King was assassinated. Even though I had never been a conscious Christian or church person, and Julie would never have married a preacher (her dad, grand-dad, uncles, etc., all were!), in those days of turmoil especially in all the cities, I know in my heart I had to make some response.

I had never considered a call to seminary or even to preach in my life. But I enrolled immediately in a seminary in Chicago and stayed there 24 years, serving two inner-city churches most of that time.

While I never want to "blame" Dr. by "the unfinished business" of his life and work — especially in that last year or so when he challenged the war and militarism and insisted that civil rights under law were human rights under God and included economic justice for the poorest and most marginalized — such as the sanitation workers in Memphis and the whole Poor Peoples March/Resurrection City in Washington, DC.

That part of his life and story and legacy seems so crucial to our time and place. Again we face whether a war (maybe any war!) is worth the sacrifices not only where and by whom it is fought, but also here at home by all whose lives are lessened by the loss of so many resources — leading to losses of homes, jobs, health benefits child care and education, etc., etc.

Dr. King's last book asked "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?"

As Dr. Taylor preached so powerfully on Dr. King's Birthday this year, the Bible poses the very same 40-year question — to every generation and especially to ours — Where do we go from here: wilderness or promised land?

In the end of that book, Dr. King envisions "The World House" — in which so much that divides and conquers, separates and isolates us from one another — here and around the world — is overcome by the work of justice! — which is organized love in action.

That is why we hope to offer this weekend of Rev. Lawson's experience and reflections — and ours! — in light of our own community needs, desires, and challenges.

Thank you for hearing me out!


John Auer


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