You may also watch via our YouTube channel on your SmartTV or in the YouTube app (simply search “Congregation Beth Israel Portland”).
We have all been looking forward to this year’s Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat Service, featuring guest speaker Reverend Doctor Gerald Durley. While we had hoped to gather for this celebration in person this year, CBI leadership has decided to make this service online only. This is for the health and safety of all of our singers, participants and guests as well as our communal responsibility.
Although this change means we will not be able to be together under our historic dome, it will allow us to celebrate safely, and to do so with the joyful, pre-recorded choral music from the Northwest Freedom Singers and our own Kol Echad Choir that is a hallmark of this annual service.
Please plan to join us online this Friday, January 14, at 6:00 PM to honor Dr. King’s work and legacy. The link will be available at www.bethisrael-pdx.org/joinus.
The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley was born in Wichita, Kansas; grew up in California, and graduated from high school in Denver, Colorado. He was recruited to play basketball for Tennessee State University, where he became a student leader in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Upon earning a degree in psychology, Dr. Durley became one of the first U.S. Peace Corp volunteers to serve in Nigeria., after which he relocated to Switzerland and played basketball for a National Swiss team while completing post graduate studies. His return to America saw him complete the Master of Science degree in Community Mental Health/Psychology at Northern Illinois University, after which he became the founder and administrator of a program that recruited and educated African Americans about their heritage. He entered the University of Massachusetts and completed the doctorate degree in Urban Education and Psychology.
Dr. Durley became a program manager in the U.S. Department of Education, creating and writing interdisciplinary studies for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) with the Institute for Services to Education, Inc.
A dedicated educator, an effective psychologist,nationally and internationally sought after inspirational and motivational speaker, Dr. Durley was gravely disturbed by the decaying moral, social, cultural, and family value systems throughout the nation. This concern compelled him to enroll at the Howard University School of Divinity and to earn the Master of Divinity.
He has served as Dean at Clark College, and a program administrator at Morehouse School of Medicine; both in Atlanta, Georgia, and directed major health, social, and civic programs across the state of Georgia. Rev. Dr. Durley was a pulpit associate at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; and at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. After 25 years of service, he retired as the pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church and is currently the Pastor Emeritus. While serving as Pastor, he became intensely involved in the climate change, global warming, and environmental justice movement. Rev. Dr. Durley now combines the disciplines of faith and science with the lessons learned as a civil/human rights advocate from the 1960s. He believes that God created a perfect ecologically balanced world for humans to care for, but we are destroying it at an alarming rate. He asserts that for the environment to be saved, the educational, scientific, business, political, and faith communities must seek common solutions.
Dr. Durley has served as past president of the Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta; co-chair of the Regional Council of Churches of Metropolitan Atlanta; and Head Start Executive Director. He serves on the boards of the March of Dimes, Civil and Human Rights Global Advisory, Communities in Schools of Atlanta, Georgia Power Diversity Council, Georgia Interfaith Corrections, Interfaith Power & Light, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of Atlanta. A few notable awards and recognitions include the White House Champion of Change Award, Citizen of Georgia Award, Citizen of Atlanta Award, Phoenix Awards, Who’s Who in Black America, Who’s Who in Christian Leadership, Influential People in Atlanta, Morehouse College Institute of Preachers, Friends of Arava Institute Environmental Award; Trail Blazer Green Church Award, Morehouse College Presidential Award of Distinction, W.E.B. DuBois NAACP Award of Distinction, Atlanta Urban League Jessie O. Davis Award, Islamic Speakers Bureau Award, National Action Network Award, Imam W. Deen Muhammed Distinguished Service Award; Tuskegee Religious Leadership Award, Coca Cola Diversity Award, and a number of other awards, certificates of recognition, and certificates of appreciation. He has appeared on a variety of radio and television programs; and quoted in newspapers, and magazines around the world. Breaking down barriers between Muslims, Jews, and Christians; Rev. Durley has traveled to Jerusalem, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Africa, Brazil, France, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Iceland, Germany and other destinations.
He was married for almost 50 years to his late wife, Muriel. They had two children and four grandchildren.