About the Event
11:15 am | Shalom Hall
Format | Guest Speaker, Topical Lectures
Audience | Adult - Large Group
Led by | Bruce Elliott
What can our community leaders and influencers teach us as a people of faith? Join us for guest speakers each week who will cover a variety of topics to challenge us to live out our faith in community. We draw heavily on the arts, literary, social and spiritual issues as viewed from a faith perspective.
February 18, 2024
Speaker | Ray Owens and Rev. Tara Gibbs
We are continuing a series on mysticism, and it will be led by Ray Owens and Rev. Tara Gibs this Sunday morning and continuing next Sundays. They have each spent a lot of time pondering what mysticism is and how ordinary people might benefit from having a closer relationship with the mystical dimension that is available to each of us.
Mysticism, Part Two: An Iconic Modern Mystic
Most of us are familiar with some of the famous civil rights leaders of the 1940s through 1960s: Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond and Martin Luther King especially come to mind. Though much less well-known, Howard Thurman was a highly influential civil rights leader who preferred to do most of his work away from the spotlight.
Howard Washington Thurman was an American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century. The most well-known of his 20 books was Jesus and the Disinherited (1949). This deeply influenced Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders (both black and white) of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Later he became a mentor to King and influenced him not just through his writings but in his quiet yet firm dedication to truth, scholarship, and his Christian faith, always through the lens of his contemplative ways and temperament.
Thurman in 1932 joined the Howard University staff to become Professor of Religion and in 1936 was named the Dean of Rankin Chapel there. Later that year he became the first person to lead a delegation of African Americans to India to meet with Mahatma Gandhi.
Long-time MPBC member Ray Owens and Associate Minister Tara Gibbs will co-lead our presentation on this extraordinary man’s life. Please join us as we rekindle the communal and dynamic spirit of last week’s presentation. I think all 50 of us there experienced this and can again this Sunday.
On Sunday February 25
Continuation of the series on mysticism listed above.
February 4, 2024
Speaker | Peg Robarchek
We're having a literary time this Sunday with local author and all-around interesting lady Peg Robarchek talking to us about her new memoir:
Welcome to the Church of I Don't Have a Clue. She will read passages from her book and share insights into the real-life events that they come from. Many of you may recall the late Doug Robarchek who Peg was married to. During the 1980s and 90s he wrote the Out Front Guy humor column for the Charlotte Observer and was one of the most read columnists in the entire newspaper. Some of what Peg will discuss may pique your memory if you were here during that period, and she will also offer some candid recollections of what life was like growing up in Birmingham during those nascent years of the civil rights movement. See the write-up below for details and please join us Sunday and bring a friend.
January 28, 2024
Speaker | Joe Parisi
Long-timer Joe Parisi talked about how his mindfulness meditation practice, along with Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings, have helped him and his clients learn to deal with negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety and anger, and move towards a deeper and more fulfilling inner peace. Please join us for what promises to be a touchstone towards the still point.
If you think that I am only this body, then you have not truly seen me. —Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the world’s great spiritual leaders of the 20th and early 21st centuries died two years ago this week. Born and raised in central Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh, often affectionately called Thay (pronounced "Tay") which means teacher in Vietnamese, lived a remarkably active life, and also one of the deepest. He was a Buddhist monk, peace activist, poet, teacher and an author of many books and essays.