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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Diversity drives King Day in New Jersey

As Martin Luther King Jr. Day draws closer on the calendar, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Teaneck, N.J., prepares to celebrate his life and work. Each year it organizes a community-wide worship service, incorporating a diverse group of people into an interfaith experience that champions King’s goals of equality, acceptance and peace.

Gary LeCroy, pastor of St. Paul, said the service is a prelude to Black History Month (February), which the congregation celebrates by singing African-American spirituals in worship.

“I try to focus my sermons around the traditional songs in order to draw out the teaching moment and really allow the history and significance of Dr. King’s equality movement to have an impact on the congregation,” he said.

The interfaith service typically takes place at Temple Beth El in Teaneck, accommodating about 125 people and three congregations, both Christian and Jewish.

“We haven’t had anyone from the local mosque present at these services yet, but we really need to reach out and be welcoming to them,” LeCroy said. “Every year we hope this service will grow and spread.”


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