Working for Change

January 13, 2015

Middle Church stands for racial reconciliation throughout the year.

Join us in the upcoming actions:

  • Sunday, January 18, worship with us on Martin Luther King, Jr. at 11:15 am and 6 pm.
  • Sunday, January 18, after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday morning worship, join the Middle community for a soul food brunch and an Intergenerational King Day Teach-In on Dismantling Racism. The Middle worshiping community and our Third Sunday small groups (Erasing Racism, Middle Business Network, Mothers & Spirituality, Praying Dangerously) will join us the teach-in.
  • Monday, January 19, at noon, join Middle Church in Harlem (Lenox and 110th Street) for a somber MLK Day march led by the families who have lost children of color to police bullets. Marchers are asked to wear black.
  • Wednesday, January 21, join Middle Church and our partners at Auburn Seminary/Groundswell and Bend the Arc to stand for #BlackLivesMatter in Washington D.C.. Transportation is provided. We will be leaving very early on Wednesday, January 21st and returning that evening. Please contact Ellen Matlach,, to reserve your spot on the bus.

Middle Church has been praying, organizing, and marching since grand juries in Ferguson and New York decided not to indict police officers who killed Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

On December 18, The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis and Minister Chad Tanaka Pack were lying in the street at West 120th Street and Broadway, taking part in a clergy "die-in" near Union Theological Seminary with more than 200 faith leaders from diverse religious traditions. "This is what theology looks like," Union students have said. It's part of an action that Jacqui and clergy around the city and country have been organizing.

After the grand jury decision in Ferguson, our multiracial congregation gathered for Sunday morning worship on November 30 to mourn, to comfort, and to seek peace from God through the music of the Middle Church Choir, a gospel ensemble, and Jacqui's preaching. This worship was shared throughout the tristate area on NY1, WPIX, NBC4, and Fox 5.

The evening after the grand jury decision in New York, this excerpt from Jacqui's sermon was featured on local television news and in a Huffington Post front-page blog: "These United States were built on a fault line called racism and that line has cracked wide open. The way to repair the breach and fix what is broken is to work toward racial reconciliation. That means engagement, relationships, and courageous conversations that open our hearts to each other."

That same evening, Jacqui attended a protest near Rockefeller Center. The next day, Jacqui, Chad, Alisa, Christina, and Middle members met in Foley Square to protest. Al-Jazeera English interviewed Jacqui live at the site.

The following Sunday, December 7, Jacqui was interviewed on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry in her segment, "Race Talk". On Monday, December 8, Jacqui joined more than 40 multifaith clergy at a die-in in the rotunda of City Hall and asked the City Council to demand a special prosecutor to investigate excessive force and wrongful death cases by police officers, and, in particular, for the case of Eric Garner. The image of this die-in was on the front page of The New York Times. The event was covered widely in the New York Daily News and NY1. Links can be found at the bottom of this page.

On Saturday, December 13, Middle members and staff participated in both the Washington Square march and the Washington, D.C. march. Middle Church sermons in response to the grand jury decisions have been some of our most widely watched YouTube videos this year.

Following the December 18 die-in, Jacqui was interviewed about the intent of Christmas on Shift,'s new digital platform, on the program Nerding Out. Jacqui shared that Christmas is the time to stand for the liberation of all people just as Christ did.

On Monday, December 22, clergy participated in a pray-in for the families of two police officers who were killed in Brooklyn and for an end to senseless killing and violence everywhere.

On Monday, January 12, Assistant Minister Alisa Joyce represented Middle Church at a Faith & Justice Clergy Breakfast hosted by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and New York Theological Seminary to train effective advocates and help transform New York City into a place of equal opportunity for all.

On Tuesday, January 13, our Director of Outreach and Communications, Christina Fleming stood with Eric Garner's parents and clergy from around the city in a prayer vigil for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and peace in our streets.

It is a part of our Middle Church vision to speak and act about our theology outside our sanctuary walls. We stand on the shoulders of the civil rights movement, seeking to live out the church's call for racial reconciliation. Thank you for the many ways each of you works for real change through the ministry of Middle Church.




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