Using the Family Pledge of Nonviolence for Dr. King Sunday & Beyond:
Preparation, Celebration & Commitment, and Living It Afterwards
the last Sunday of December in 2002, in preparation for our celebration of
Martin Luther King, we gave each family in our church two copies of the
Family Pledge of Nonviolence. We asked them to
reflect, pray and discuss the Pledge together as a family and then to sign both
copies. One copy was kept at home as a reminder of what had been promised; the
second copy was returned to the church.
We also gave each family a small paper circle on which to write their family
name and then decorate it with their dream of peace. The finished "ornaments"
were then hung on our unlit peace tree in the church, and the signed pledges
were collected into a special book. Both of these are placed next to an icon of
On the third Sunday of January, when we celebrated Dr. King at all our parish
worship services, we proclaimed a reading from the King Center on living
nonviolently today. After the proclamation, all were invited to recite aloud
the Family Pledge of Nonviolence. After this recitation, we lit the peace tree
as a sign that people struggling to live nonviolently offer hope and light in
these times of darkness. We continue to re-light the peace tree in our church
as a reminder of what we dream for our world and what we have promised in order
to make that dream come true.
For more information, contact
Sr. Chris Koelhoffer, IHM, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christ the King Church
Springfield Gardens, NY
Note: For quotations from Dr. King, see also
Families Respond to Dr. King’s Call to Challenge Racism, Materialism, and
"A Call to Discipleship –
Reflections for Dr. King Celebration Liturgies"