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Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., pastor emeritus of historic Riverside Church in New York City, to announce national movement during Good Friday Service at Third Baptist Church

March 25, 2018

Good Friday Service is March 30, noon to 1:30 p.m., at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, 1399 McAllister St., San Francisco

This year’s Good Friday Service at the historic Third Baptist Church of San Francisco will be far from typical, with an acclaimed pastor and civil rights icon from New York City announcing a national movement against poverty and immorality in religion and politics, sponsored by the NAACP, the Episcopal Diocese of New York and Sojourners magazine.

Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr.

“This time there will not be just religious verbiage and pious statements,” said Dr. Amos Brown Sr., pastor of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. “This is not a time for only traditional music and scriptures to be read. It is a time for Dr. James Forbes, a preacher and world champion of justice, to take the stage as we take this important step toward addressing the evil that is running rife throughout the land.”

This far reaching stance was taken by key faith leaders at the beginning of Lent in New York City. They sounded the alarm with a preamble to their reflections by stating: “We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.”

Dr. Forbes is the pastor emeritus at the famed Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York, an historically influential and progressive church that was conceived by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the 1920s and has been the chosen pulpit for many of the nation’s great civil rights leaders since, including Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke out against the Vietnam War there on April 4, 1967.

However, on Friday, March 30, the historic Third Baptist Church of San Francisco will be the chosen pulpit for the announcement of a national movement. The movement will call upon evangelicals and all faith leaders in America to discuss and respond to the unfortunate situation of politics and religion being compromised by incivility and unprincipled political activities. Evangelicals in particular have failed to denounce sexual harassment, bullying. racism, homophobia and xenophobia. “We want to have a conversation with them and the nation about where this leads us as regards to our moral and ethical compass,” Brown said.

Moreover, Dr. Brown noted ironic parallels surrounding the lives of three world leaders who refused to falter morally in the face of political power – all three of whom were killed by assassins’ violence during Holy Week: Jesus of Nazareth, April 3, A.D. 33; Abraham Lincoln, April 14, 1865; and Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1968. As Jesus died for our personal and social sins, President Lincoln was taken from the Earth after signing the Emancipation Proclamation to end America’s greatest historical sin of enslavement, Dr. King was assassinated similarly in 1968 over his courageous fight for fair wages and benefits for garbage collectors.

“These assassinated men each shared one important trait: They were servants,” Dr. Brown noted, adding it was Jesus of Nazareth who stated, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

Evangelicals in particular have failed to denounce sexual harassment, bullying. racism, homophobia and xenophobia. “We want to have a conversation with them and the nation about where this leads us as regards to our moral and ethical compass,” Brown said.

It is time to call upon evangelical leaders to halt their betrayal of the blessed tenets and principles of our interfaith tradition by standing with and supporting political leadership only when it mirrors doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with one’s God.

“Behold the present day social, political and economic challenges that warrant our servant leadership,” Dr. Brown said. “We need participation and engagement of all citizens to deliver our nation from its present division, violence and acts of evil.”

Finally, Dr. Brown added, “It’s time for us to pray, to plan and to push for the betterment of our poor, homeless and incarcerated.” He continues, saying, “When we do this, we shall justly honor the lives of these three prophets: Jesus, Lincoln and King. Their essence was of servanthood, not the recital of tenets that only deal with selfish interests or personal salvation.”

“Behold the present day social, political and economic challenges that warrant our servant leadership,” Dr. Brown said. “We need participation and engagement of all citizens to deliver our nation from its present division, violence and acts of evil.”

Join us as we announce a national movement sponsored by the NAACP; Jim Wallis, Sojourners Magazine; and Bishop Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop Of the Episcopal Church Of New York City.

Third Baptist Church is located at 1399 McAllister St. in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. Call them at 415-346-4426.

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