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Christ Church Cathedral Hosts Public Reading Of King's Speeches For Fourth Year

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The third Monday in January may be marked as a National Day of Service, but Christ Church Cathedral is remembering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with a day of speech and reflection in order to spur change. The Cathedral is giving citizens an opportunity to listen and read a selection of his speeches aloud. “Let Freedom Ring” began four years ago after the very reverend Mike Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral, realized there was no element of reflection evident in the service projects that others were completing.

“What it is, is it gives a foundation of reflection so that we can consider what that work is,” he said. “He never was an activist for activism’s sake. Everything was thoughtful, prayerful, reasoned, considered.” The day is not a discouragement to performing public service, however. “What we are hoping that people will do is embody that in their lives…do your five hours at the soup kitchen, then come here and speak these words, and consider what it was that you were doing, and consider what more it is that you are called to do,” says Kinman.

The program will be held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the nave of the Cathedral. Participants can choose to read aloud, volunteer to man a 30 minute shift, or simply listen at any time during the day.

Robert Good, a member of Christ Church cathedral who has participated every year, finds himself drawn to the reflective nature of the event.

“You get an appreciation for the depth of his theology, for the depth of his commitment to a number of different issues – not just race -  peace and war,  the importance of building a more beloved community. You just sort of get immersed and marinate in his words.”

Kinman has said that he has received offers from others to perform dramatic readings, show movies, and perform music – but he always refuses, preferring to keep the day as simple as possible.  “There’s something about the simplicity of – all we’re doing is reading and listening, and we want to be going on all day.” 

Christ Church Cathedral is located at 1210 Locust Street.  The event is free, and participants can sign up for shifts at letfreedomring2013.wikispaces.com.

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