The BTS Center
97 India Street • Portland, ME 04101

January 18, 2021

Dear Friends:

Written during the height of tension in April 1963, during what was called The Birmingham campaign — a coordinated time of nonviolent direct action that included marches and sit-ins to call attention to the violence of racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama — Dr. King’s Letter, which you can read in full at this link, has been called “the most important written document of the civil rights era.”

On this Martin Luther King Day in 2021, we must acknowledge that the work of racial justice is far from finished. We must acknowledge that Rev. Dr. King’s challenge to religious communities and leaders is as relevant today as it was 57 years ago. 

You will find two videos below:

We also invite you to make your prayer concrete by supporting, with your time and your financial resources, the efforts of organizations doing the work of anti-racism. Here is a list of organizations generated by the 14 readers who took part in today’s event, as well as leaders of The BTS Center and the Maine Council of Churches. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list — there are so many organizations doing good and necessary work in the world — but we hope this list will inspire you to think about organizations you wish to support.

Today, may the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. resonate in new ways. May they speak to us and stir us to holy discomfort. May they challenge us and lead us to recommit ourselves fully to the journey of racial justice and equity.

With gratitude and prayer,
Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill
Executive Director • The BTS Center

Committed to Listen
a public reading of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Because the work of racial justice is far from finished, and because Rev. Dr. King's challenge to religious communities and leaders is as relevant today as it was 57 years ago, we came together on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021 for a public reading of the Letter. 
This event, co-hosted by The BTS Center and the Maine Council of Churches included multiple voices, contemplative music, and space for reflection.

Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying
Song by Ken Medema

View this video created especially for this event, with a song and images that we hope will inspire you to deeper prayer and action. 

Special thanks to the following: 
  • Kelly Muse, piano, music & video editing
  • Choir: Cori Farnham, Ophelia Hu Kinney, Martin Turnidge, Carolyn Turnidge, Allen Ewing-Merrill, Kelly Muse
The BTS Center | 207.774.5212 | |
Allen Ewing-Merrill
Executive Director
Nicole Diroff
Program Director
Kay Ahmed
Office Manager
 Our mission is to catalyze spiritual imagination with enduring wisdom for transformative faith leadership.
We equip and support faith leaders for theologically grounded and effective 21st-century ministries.