International Unitarian Universalism: Torda 450: Celebrating the Anniversary of Religious Tolerance

Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Torda450

MLK Day Worship Services and Torda450 Themes

The 450th anniversary of the Edict of Torda occurs two days prior to the Birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in January, 2018. The Torda450 organizers urge congregations to remain focused on MLK-Day services on Sunday, January 14, 2018. We hope that many congregations will choose to also include themes from Torda450 during MLK worship services. Alternatively, congregations are encouraged to hold Torda450 celebrations on other Sundays in January when that is preferable.

For congregations that choose to explore resonances between MLK-Day and Torda450, we’ve collected a few guiding questions to consider. And, as a reminder, all congregations holding Torda450 events are encouraged to list these on the Celebrations Map. And, please consider submitting your Torda450 Celebration for an award.

Reflection Questions when designing MLK worship services that include Torda450 themes:

  • In what ways are deconstructing White Supremacy and resisting Religious Authoritarianism similar and different? How are people of faith called and accountable in this work in the 21st century.
  • How was Dr. King’s leadership related to a movement towards religious pluralism? In what ways was a similar process taking place during the period of the Edict of Torda? What does this mean for your congregation?
  • What experience does your community have with people-powered movements for justice and change? Are there lessons from Dr. King’s leadership or from the religious freedom struggle in Eastern Europe in the 16th century that are valuable?
  • What do Dr. King’s ministry and Torda450 teach Unitarian Universalists about ‘showing up,’ leading, and following. What do they say about Direct Action, Civil Disobedience, and the act of “Going to Church.”
  • How are violence, trauma, and martyrdom in justice movements today associated with Dr. King’s ministry and Torda450? What does this teach us about faithfulness and risk?
  • What have we learned about ‘counter-actions’ to justice movements? How is or was the counter-action to Dr. King’s ministry similar to that faced by early Unitarians in Transylvania?

Additionally, the UUA Skinner Sermon award winner in 2017 was Rev. Kate Landis. Her sermon, "Resilience and Religious Freedom" (PDF), explores some of these themes and many others that are resonant with both Torda450 and Dr. King’s leadership and legacy. Be sure to have a look.