Press Release: Tolling the Bells for King, Trayvon, and Those Like Them

April 5, 2012

For press inquiries:
Christina Fleming, cell: 917-439-3770,
Middle Collegiate Church,
112 Second Ave. (between E. 6th - 7th Sts), New York, NY 10003

At 11 a.m. on Easter Sunday, Middle Collegiate Church’s historic bell will ring 44 times as we pray for peace and justice. The bells will toll to honor Dr. King, who was assassinated 44 years ago this week, and to remember Trayvon Martin and those like them who have been profiled, wounded, or killed because of their race, their religion, their sexuality, or their gender identity.

Congregants will be invited to the sanctuary 15 minutes before the 11:15 a.m. Easter worship celebration. As the bell tolls, all who gather will be invited to cover their heads with a hoodie, hijab, or a scarf and to pray silently for healing and justice.

The Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church said, “Our hearts are heavy as we think about the ongoing racial tensions in our nation. Our Easter hope is that when we work for justice, this is the living Christ at work in us. When we work for racial reconciliation, when we honor all faiths, and when we see all sexual orientations as Holy, we are fully being the body of Christ.”

This is the third Sunday that the congregation at Middle Collegiate Church has covered their heads with hoodies or scarves to pray for justice for Trayvon Martin and those like him who have been killed or targets of violence because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.

Congregations around the city, including the Collegiate Churches of New York, have been invited to ring their bells 44 times and join in prayer at 11 a.m. for peace and justice. The 11 o’clock hour was chosen because King said the “most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning.” Middle Church believes building multiracial/multicultural congregations can help to heal racial tensions in our nation.

Middle Collegiate Church's senior minister is The Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D., the first African-American and woman senior minister in the Collegiate Churches of New York. Rev. Lewis and Middle Collegiate Church have been featured in The Associated Press, The New York Times Video, CBS2, NBC4, NY1, and The Huffington Post.

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