News from the RCC 2018 Convention

Atlanta convention opens with keynote on “Realizing the Dream”

By Carolyn Lewis

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Byron E. Thomas (photo by George Conklin)

Rev Russell Pierce, executive director of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church welcomed the annual Religion Communicators Council convention to Atlanta. He said that Atlanta is an international city rich in history and pointed out that his staff is now working out of a local congregation after years of being in New York.

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Byron E. Thomas, senior pastor of Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, called “bitterness on all sides” an impediment to improving relationships in the US.

Speaking on the theme of “Realizing the Dream of Peace and Justice through Communication,” he said, “Bitterness causes people to see others as an ‘it’ rather than a ‘thou.’”

“If we fail to deal with bitterness any progress will not bring a long lasting and endurable peace.”

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RCC members learn about Atlanta’s history

By Anne Keever Cannon, APR

Tear stains are still visible on the veil worn by Coretta Scott King at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. The veil is on exhibit at the Center for Nonviolent Social Change. (Photo by Anne Keever Cannon, APR.)

Some 25 RCC members got a close-up look at Atlanta’s heart Thursday.

They visited the neighborhood where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was born, grew up and ministered. They saw his alma mater, Morehouse College, and learned a bit about the city’s vibrant downtown.

The bus stopped first at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. The area stretches several blocks along Auburn Avenue. It includes the house where the civil rights icon was born and grew up; Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he served as assistant pastor; and the crypt where King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are buried.

The church is the area’s center. It’s been restored to look as it did when King ministered there in the 1960s. It’s no longer an active church – the congregation built a new home across the street in 1999 to accommodate growth.

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