King’s Day virtual and in-person celebrations

[Episcopal News Service] Dioceses and parishes across The Episcopal Church will honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday weekend of his birthday, January 14-16, 2023, with services and other events both in-person and online.

King, who would have turned 94 this year, spearheaded the national movement for racial justice and civil rights as a Baptist preacher in Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia. In the last years of his life, he focused more on economic injustice and the Vietnam War. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968, during a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, to support city sanitation workers who were striking for better pay and working conditions. He is honored in The Episcopal Church’s Lesser Feasts and Fasts calendar on April 4.

Here are a few events you can participate in. All times are local.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will visit Los Angeles, California, to give the keynote address at a “Power of Love” service – connecting King’s message with the Way of Love Curry has promoted – at 3 p.m. on January 15 at Christ the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. The service will feature music by the Episcopal Chorale and a liturgy planned by the diocesan Program Group on Black Ministries.

In nearby Pasadena, All Saints Episcopal Church will continue its tradition of doing a continuous reading, over eight hours, of King’s speeches, sermons and writings. The event, “Let Freedom Ring,” will be held in the church’s nave on January 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Texts will be available in English and in Spanish.

Another tradition continues in Boston, Massachusetts, where the 53rd Annual MLK Jr. Memorial Breakfast will be held on January 16 at 9 a.m. at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. In 2020, Curry delivered the keynote address at the event, a collaboration between St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and Union United Methodist Church. This year’s keynote speaker is Jelani Cobb, a writer for The New Yorker magazine and the new dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

In Washington, D.C., the National Cathedral will host a special morning Eucharist at 11:15 a.m. on January 15 in honor of King, featuring a sermon from the Rev. Paul Smith, a civil rights veteran and associate of King’s. The service includes music from the Washington Performing Arts’ Children of the Gospel Choir joining cathedral musicians. King preached his last Sunday sermon at the cathedral on March 31, 1968.

Grace Cathedral, seat of the Diocese of California in San Francisco, will host an interfaith evensong service at 3 p.m. on January 15, gathering local and national interfaith leaders around the theme “Freedom, Justice, and Beloved Community.”

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City will host a “Spiritual Sing for Martin Luther King Jr.” on January 15 at 12:30 p.m. Recognizing the power of African American spirituals in King’s life and work, choral conductor Alice Parker will lead participants in an hour of singing.

In Detroit, Michigan, the city’s largest event honoring King – a celebration, rally and march – starts at St. Matthew’s-St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church at noon on January 16. After two years of virtual events, the celebration returns in person with cultural presentations from social justice advocates, a march and a late afternoon meal. This year’s theme is “Six Decades of Mass Movements: The Struggle Continues.”

Trinity Church Wall Street’s Trinity Retreat Center will host a virtual retreat exploring the themes of King’s final sermon, “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” The free retreat will take place over five half-hour sessions via the Trinity Retreat Center Facebook page on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The retreat is free and pre-registration is not required.

—Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer: Worshiping God, living in community, reaching out to the world.

Church of the Redeemer

Church of the Redeemer: Worshiping God, living in community, and reaching out to the world around us. We are an Episcopal Church serving north King County and south Snohomish County, Washington. As you travel your road, go with friends walking the way of Jesus at Redeemer.

Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 Northeast 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. The campus is a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside. And we managed to hide a large building on the side of a hill that is not easily seen from the street.

The Episcopal Church welcomes you.