The St. Paul’s School community is invited to attend a special Chapel service featuring guest homilist Catherine Meeks, Ph.D.
The theme for this year’s Martin L. King, Jr. special Chapel service is the quote, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." The source of Dr. King’s quote is a sermon delivered in 1853 by the abolitionist Rev. Theodore Parker. Parker, an influential Unitarian minister, spoke these words in the sermon, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.”
King’s paraphrase of Parker is often interpreted that King was suggesting the moral universe will definitely bend toward justice. The triple pandemic – COVID-19, ongoing virulent racism and displays of white nationalism, and economic displacement – invite us to revisit the popular quotation.
Our Chapel service will invite the St. Paul’s School community to grapple with our individual and collective call to co-labor with God, one another, and our neighbors to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.
Catherine Meeks, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. Prior to the center’s opening, she chaired its precursor, Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. A sought-after teacher and workshop leader, Catherine brings four decades of experience to the work of transforming the dismantling racism work in Atlanta. The core of her work has been with people who have been marginalized because of economic status, race, gender, or physical ability as they pursue liberation, justice, and access to resources that can help lead them to health, wellness, and a more abundant life.
Catherine is the retired Clara Carter Acree Distinguished Professor of Socio-Cultural Studies from Wesleyan College and Founding Executive Director of the Lane Center for Community Engagement and Service. She characterizes herself as a midwife to the soul of her students and workshop participants. She has spent many years sharing the insights that she gained from her pursuit of the truth. She has had many great teachers including her sons, the Bible, Jungian psychology, cross-cultural stories, and other books of wisdom. But her greatest teacher is rheumatoid arthritis because it has forced her to learn many new ways to listen to her body and to pay attention to the messages from her heart. She is frequently asked to present commentaries on Georgia Public Radio and other radio and television programs. She is the author of six books and one inspirational CD and is the editor of the bestselling book, Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America and co-author of Passionate for Justice: Ida B Wells as Prophet for Our Times. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University and a Ph.D. from Emory University.