Having a guest come to speak at church isn’t uncommon. It fact, this was most often the case during church revival. You know, the scheduled meetings that usually take place twice a year and last for a week. Yes, an epiphany occurs as one realizes that they do, in fact, know of the practice. Perhaps you are not aware that said practice has a name. What used to known simply as a guest speaker coming to church is now called “Pulpit Swapping” or “Sermon Exchange.”
The practice of “Pulpit Swapping” was begun by the former Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in effort to bridge the gaps that exist between races and religions. Peoples of different beliefs and colors may learn to appreciate one another in spite of obstacles that may be in their midst.
Locally, Mecklenburg Ministries and Crossroadscharlotte will participate in "Sermon Exchange." Clergy from each ministry will go before the congregation of the other and bring forth ideas of how to erase racial tensions within the community.
In effort to not exclude anyone, there is also the possibility of modification of the “Pulpit Exchange” to a “Program Exchange.” Some faiths, Quakers for example, do not do sermons and would be excluded from the practice were it not for the modification.
The first such service will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 15, Johnson C. Smith University President Ron Carter will give Temple Beth El's Martin Luther King Shabbat Sermon. The initial service will be followed by Rabbi Judy Schindler of Temple Beth El who will be among those teaching a new course - "African American-Jewish Relations" - debuting during the spring semester at Johnson C. Smith.
At this point, some 30 ministries representing a variety of faiths, will be participating. Those include Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Spiritual Living Center.
Once the sermons have begun, they will be available via podcast or transcript at Crossroadscharlotte