As election nears, Episcopal Church groups offer resources

By ENS staff
Posted Oct 3, 2016

[Episcopal News Service] There are a number of Episcopal Church-related resources available to help United States voters prepare over the next 40 days for the Nov. 8 general election.


 Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on voting
“Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in late August. “And that is a Christian obligation. Indeed, we who follow in the way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.”

The video is closed-captioned and is subtitled in Spanish. The text of the presiding bishop’s message in English and Spanish can be found here at the end of the story.

Election Engagement Toolkit
The Episcopal Public Policy Network’s Election Engagement Toolkit is an introduction for congregations that are eager to participate in the electoral process “faithfully, responsibly and legally.” The toolkit anchors such engagement in the Baptismal Covenant’s promise to “strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being.”

It suggests that particularly appropriate activities are conversations on public policy issues, candidate forums, voter registration and issue education campaigns, engagement with young adults who are eligible to vote for the first time, Get Out The Vote campaigns and advocacy for voting rights legislation.

The network’s #EpiscopaliansVote page includes a calendar of election-related dates, an election-related litany and other prayers, an interactive U.S. map with information about elections in each state, sample tweets about voting and other resources.

EPPN also invites church members to sign the Episcopal Voter Pledge, noting that the Episcopal Church considers voting an act of Christian stewardship.

A Season of Prayer for an Election
For the 30 days leading up to the election, Forward Movement is calling Episcopalians and all others to join in a time of prayer.

“This election season has been among the most contentious in recent memory,” the Rev. Scott Gunn, Forward Movement executive director, said in a letter announcing the Oct. 9-Nov. 9 prayer cycle. “I’ve heard people say, again and again, ‘I’m not sure what to do.’ For Christians, there is always one thing we can do, every one of us. We can pray.”

The Season of Prayer includes weekly PDFs with prayers for each day. The entire cycle can is available for download in a single PDF. Except for the final prayer, all prayers come from The Book of Common Prayer. The final prayer for Nov. 9, titled “Pray to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ today, no matter the election results,” is printed in each issue of Forward Day by Day under the title “For Today.”

The downloads, one in English and another in Spanish, are here.

Forward Movement will also post each daily prayer to its Facebook and Twitter feeds, and in Spanish on Adelante día a día.

Faith, Politics and the Golden Rule
Los Angeles Times writer Mark Oppenheimer, other panelists and participants in the annual Lansing Lee Conference Oct. 16-18 at Kanuga Camp and Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, will explore the idea of transformational leadership and the question: “How can the country go from a place of partisanship to engagement?” Joining Oppenheimer will be human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar and assistant editor at The Washington Post Elizabeth Bruenig. Further details are here.

Bridging the Political Divide
ChurchNext offers online course Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer for a $10 fee. It comes in two formats: individuals and groups.

The course description says “many observers note that the political rancor and rhetoric has reached all-time highs, injecting unprecedented fear, division, and unease into our culture.” Palmer, the description says, “believes our current political climate provides a rare opportunity to think more deeply about who we are as people and a nation.” The course asks how people of faith ought to respond and how they can “remain calm and centered amidst our difference and tension, taking our roles as peacemakers and even prophets, seriously.”

Palmer offers four video presentations, including downloadable discussion questions for groups and “The Takeaway” for personal study.

A call to ‘intense prayer’

The three Episcopal bishops who serve in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts  issued a joint statement Oct. 5 in which they call for all Episcopalians to join a 48-hour prayer vigil prior to Election Day.  The statement and details are here.


Comments (10)

  1. The Rev. Bob Thwing says:

    I’m very concerned about the destruction of traditional values by the Episcopal Church. The “Political Correctness” approach seems to be the guiding light.

    1. Douglas M. Carpenter says:

      I grew up in a time and place where “Jim Crow” was the tradition and considered a good custom. At the same time females couldn’t serve as acolytes, couldn’t serve on the vestry, and couldn’t be ordained as priests. My great, great, grandfather who was a Presbyterian minister, went along with the tradition of slavery. The tradition in the very early church was that a Gentile would have to become a Jew before he could become a Christian. Of course this list of rejected traditions and customs could go on, but you get the point. As Tennyson put it, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”

    2. Mary Ann Fraley says:

      WHAT “destruction of traditional values by the Episcopal Church”? All they say is that we have an obligation to vote. What about that is against our traditional values? They also said that, whatever the outcome of the election, we should behave like Christians. Did you plan to do something other than that?

    3. (The Rev.) Michelle Boomgaard says:

      Sometimes, when I hear people speak dismissively of “political correctness,” I feel that what is meant is “we want to say whatever we want.” The Episcopal Church holds fast to the values we have always had, the ones Jesus taught. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. When we say things that hurt others, we may be speaking freely, but we are not speaking as Christ would have us speak. When we pray for others who disagree with us, we are obeying Jesus’s command to love our enemies, and we may even finding our hearts moved towards compassion for them.

    4. Catherine Cheek says:

      The Episcopal Church hasn’t lost anymore traditional values than any other denominations. I have heard this many times before. It all goes back to our inclusiveness. We are supposed to practice the teachings of Jesus. We are taught to look at each person as a Child Of God.

      Just because we don’t dwell on sin, Hell, and damnation, it doesn’t mean we don’t have traditional values. Jesus teaches love, acceptance, and peace, and is what the Episcopal Church focuses.

      I challenge you to attend an Episcopal worship service. See for yourself, and have some conversations with our clergy. You will find that your statement is untrue. God’s peace and blessings be with you.🕆

  2. Richard McClellan says:

    In other words, vote for Hillary. The Episcopal Church welcomes you…only if you’re a wealthy, elitist liberal.

  3. Vicki Storberg says:

    I’ll pray for you Mr. Richard McClellan.

  4. Kenneth Knapp says:

    I take exception with the PB’s assertion that I h have a Christian obligation to vote and participate in government. I have a legal right to vote and participate in government and that implies a legal right not to. I don’t think it is any of the PB’s business how I decide. A very strong case can be made that a Christian should avoid political involvement.

    1. Canon Alonzo Pruitt says:

      Only by someone who doesn’t know Jesus……

  5. Richard McClellan says:

    I apologize for that hateful comment I posted October 5. I suffer from major depression and deal with it on a daily basis. I offer no excuses but a hundred apologies. I am truly sorry.

Comments are closed.