A little over two years ago, the Rev. Lamont Hartman and his wife, Nancy, started Emmaus Church, a multi-ethnic congregation in Santa Ana.
Hartman is an African-American pastor who is leading a church that is about 40 percent Latino, 30 percent Caucasian, 20 percent Asian and about 10 percent African American.
“Our church embodies the spirit of Dr. King’s (‘I have a dream’) speech,” Hartman said. “What we’re trying to do here is deeper than just bringing people together. We are teaching racial reconciliation and having challenging conversations.”
On Monday, Jan. 15, for the second year in a row, Hartman will sit with other local pastors, law enforcement officials, city officials, educators and community members during a Martin Luther King Day Breakfast to talk about how they can build on King’s dream, 45 years later.
The idea for such a breakfast came from Hartman who, over the last couple of years, has forged partnerships with other congregations in the city such as Templo Calvario, Calvary Church Santa Ana, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, New Song Church and Greater Light Baptist Church.
Last year, about 125 attendees registered for the breakfast; for Monday, that number has grown to 160, Hartman said.
“This year, the goal is to see how influential leaders in government and others in the community can take Dr. King’s dream to their sphere of influence,” he said. “The heart of it is to really allow our lives to teach and preach the ideals of unity and reconciliation, which Dr. King stood for.”
The breakfast gives clergy and community leaders an opportunity to come together, look at King’s life and be inspired, Hartman said.
The event will feature remarks by community partners. Daniel Rodriguez, professor of religion and Hispanic studies at Pepperdine University, will deliver the keynote address.
Matt Doan, pastor of Calvary Church Santa Ana, said events such as the breakfast help rally communities around the goal of healing divisions.
“Sunday morning has been the most segregated time in America,” he said. “First, we need to call out our fears and talk about them, and then we need to overcome those fears.”
Some fears, Doan said, are cultural while “some of it is just the brokenness of humanity.”
“We tend to judge and isolate ourselves into our own tribe,” he said. “Talking out things helps drive away fears and misconceptions.”
Doan says he has experienced fear and hesitation, too. As a white…