[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.
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.