“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Sunday, January 15, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church welcomed Rev. Floyd Thompkins, Director for the Center of Innovation in Ministry at San Francisco Theological Seminary, to preach in our morning services in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The celebration was also attended by Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. for whom the Center’s Smith-King Initiative is named, and by Jim McDonald, President of SFTS. Rev. Thompkins spoke powerfully on the legacy of Dr. King first as a Christian minister, and second as a man who had civil rights leadership happen to him. The incarnation of God was working through King, and Rev. Thompkins encouraged us to follow in his legacy of faith and optimism in challenging times, saying “It is not important that we believe in God, what is important is that God believes in us.”

After the services, the congregation joined Rev. Thompkins for a lunchtime discussion and presentation on the Center as a catalyst for building bridges toward racial reconciliation. Participants engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue about how to humanize each other, and to recognize that we are all connected. Harm to others is harm to ourselves, and bearing the weight of hate is more of a burden than bearing the lightness of love. At the end of the event, Pastor Whitelock generously supported the Center for Innovation in Ministry with a $10,000 donation on behalf of LOPC. Rev. Thompkins and SFTS President Jim McDonald were very surprised and extremely grateful!

Would you like to find out more or get involved with the Center for Innovation in Ministry? Please RSVP for a Shifts Happen Lecture at innovation.sfts.edu/events/ OR participate in an online Collaborative Seminar at https://innovation.sfts.edu/seminars/. The first Shift Happens lecture is taking place at LOPC on February 27. We’d love to see you there!

Take a closer look at the celebration by browsing photos from the day.

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