MLK Retreat 2021

MLK Retreat 2021 Archive

The 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Retreat took place January 16-18 in a virtual environment. Below is a digital archive of the event with the daily lessons, prayers and meditations. The prayers were taken from “Thou, Dear God” Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Edited by Lewis V. Baldwin, 2012, Beacon Press, Boston

Our most sincere appreciation is extended to Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America his encouragement and support, and to all the participants who attended virtually and contributed to the success of this event. May God rest the soul of His servant Martin, in the abode of the just and may his memory and teachings continue to inspire generations to come.  ~Fr. Vazken.

MLK Retreat 2021 - flyer

Letter of Introduction and Instruction

Dear Retreat Participant,
Welcome to the Martin Luther King Retreat-2021, sponsored by the In His Shoes Ministry.
The MLK Retreat began in 2004 in the Sequoia national forest at our Diocesan campsite in Dunlap, California. Every year since then we have made an effort to set aside time to contemplate and celebrate the life and teachings of Rev. King. Here in the United States, the third Monday in January is designated as the Martin Luther King Holiday. Accordingly, our In His Shoes ministries coordinates the Retreat to coincide with the holiday.
We have had many different venues and sites for this event, from retreat sites on mountain tops, to the hot desert planes, from brunches with Gospel music and celebration, to outdoor drum circles, synchronizing our beat with the beat Rev. King put into place during the 1950s and 1960s. 
This year, 2021, with the COVID19 pandemic not letting up, for the first time in 18 years, we will attempt a VIRTUAL RETREAT. Thank you for signing up to be a part of this novel event and experiment. The theme this year is Rev. King’s Prayer life. We will be looking at the Prayers that moved the mover. By looking at his prayers, and especially in the context of his work, I believe we will gain a unique insight into the power that is available to all of us through God.
So, if you’re ready for a unique experience and spiritually uplifting few days, here are the instructions of how it will take place.
The retreat will be made up of three lecture-presentations on Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings. We have people joining us from throughout the world. All times are Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8). The lecture-presentations will be available at 9:00 AM each day at THIS website:    <==THIS IS WHERE it’s happening
  • Saturday, January 16, 9:00AM
  • Sunday, January 17, 9:00AM 
  • Monday, January 18,  9:00AM 
When you go to that website, there will be instructions for the day. Make sure to REFRESH your browser each day. You will be given a sound file that contains the lesson, lecture, prayers for the day. Each session will be about an hour in duration. Find a quiet space, turn off all distractions. Download the file or just hit the play button, then listen to the lesson of the day. 
On Monday, January 18, at 7:00 PM we will have a ZOOM meeting, with all of the participants of the Retreat meeting with members of our Bible Study group. There I will make the final presentation live, that is, not recorded. We will also have a chance to discuss what we have learned throughout the weekend. You will be receiving the Zoom link by a separate email.
As mentioned, this VIRTUAL retreat is something new. If we need to tweak it throughout the weekend, we may do so. For now, these are the instructions. I look forward to taking this journey with you and together seeing the power of love, the power of Christ in our midst that was at the center of Martin Luther King’s theology, and the power to bring about change-of-heart to a hurting world. I’m honored to serve as the Retreat Master for this event and pray that together we grow in the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr. Vazken Movsesian
InHisShoes Epostle
Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization. -Victor Hugo

Welcome: DAY 1 of the MLK VIRTUAL Retreat 2021

Here is the lesson, prayers and message for today. Press the play button below to listen here (or download to listen on your device).

Here are the prayers that we shared today

Easter Prayer: Oh God, our gracious Heavenly Father, we come on this Easter morning, thanking Thee for revealing to us the ultimate meaning and the ultimate rationality of the universe. We thank you, this morning, for your Son, Jesus, who came by to let us know that love is the most durable power in the world, who came by to let us know that death can’t defeat us, to take the sting out of the grave and death and make it possible for all of us to have eternal life. We thank you, oh God. And God grant that we will be grateful recipients of they eternal blessings. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

High and Noble and Good: Oh God, our gracious heavenly Father, we thank thee for the inspiration of Jesus the Christ, who came to this world to show us the way. And grant that we will see in that life the fact that we are made for that which is high and noble and good. Help us to live in line with that high calling, that great destiny. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

The Drum Major Instinct 

DAY 2 of the MLK VIRTUAL Retreat 2021

Here is the lesson, prayers and message for today. Press the play button below to listen here (or download to listen on your device).

Here are the prayers that we shared today

Three Dimensions: Eternal God, our Father, we thank thee for the insights of old, the insights of prophets and those who have lived near to thee. Grant that as we continue to live we will seek to develop all of those dimensions that will bring completeness of us. Grant somehow that we will learn to be concerned about ourselves, but at the same time give us that great concern for other selves. At the same time, help us to be concerned about Thee and to worship Thee in spirit and truth. Grant that somehow we will come to the great conclusion that unless we have all three of these we somehow live lives that are incomplete. Amen.

A New Earth with Righteousness: Our loving Father, from Thy hand have come all the days of the past. To Thee we look for whatever good the future hold. We are not satisfied with the world as we have found it. It is too little the kingdom of God as yet. Grant us the privilege of a part in its regeneration. We are looking for a new earth in which dwells righteousness. It is our prayer that we may be children of light, the kind of people for whose coming and ministry the world is waiting. Amen.

Rediscovering Lost Values (1954) 

DAY 3 of the MLK VIRTUAL Retreat 2021

Here is the lesson, prayers and message for today. Press the play button below to listen here (or download to listen on your device).

Here are the prayers that we shared today

O God our eternal Father, we praise thee for gifts of mind with which thou hast endowed us. We are able to rise out of the half-realities of the sense world to a world of ideal beauty and eternal truth. Teach us, we pray Thee, how to use this great gift of reason and imagination so that it shall not be a curse but a blessing. Grant us visions that shall lift us from worldliness and in into the light of thine own holy presence. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

Higher Principle of Love: God grant that the resources that you have will be used to do that, the great resources of education, the resources of wealth, and that we will be able to move into this new world, a world in which men will live together as brothers; a world in which men will no longer take necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. A world in which men will throw down the sword and live by the higher principle of love. The time when we shall be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daylight of freedom and justice. That there will be the time we will be able to stand before the universe and say with joy — The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and our Christ! And he shall reign forever and ever! Hallelujah!

Loving your Enemies (1957)

The final session was a Zoom meeting with several of the participants, archived in this video