Massachusetts Episcopal bishops call for 48-hour election vigil

'Intense prayer' from noon on Nov. 6 through noon on Election Day, Nov. 8

Posted Oct 5, 2016

[Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts]  The three Episcopal bishops who serve in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have issued a joint statement Oct. 5 in which they call for all Episcopalians to join a 48-hour prayer vigil prior to Election Day.

Three prayer vigils have already been scheduled in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. Two will be led by deacons in Worcester (Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m.) and in Springfield (Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m.). The third vigil will be led by the priests of St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield (Nov. 7 @ 6:30 pm.) Others vigils are expected to emerge in the days ahead and locations for all vigils in Western Massachusetts will be listed on the diocesan website.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has emphasized the Christian responsibility to vote. The Church has provided extensive resources for preparation on the issues and for prayer. Most recently the House of Bishops (of the Episcopal Church) issued a statement entitled: A Word to the Church for the World. Bishop Alan Gates, Bishop Gayle Harris and Bishop Douglas Fisher add this call to “intense prayer” in the certainty that God is with us as we prepare to do the work of citizenship on Election Day. The full text of the bishops’ joint statement follows below.

Episcopal Bishops Call for 48-Hour Election Vigil

As our nation approaches its Election Day on Nov. 8, we have a deep yearning for the Holy Spirit to be present in our national life.  Individually, we express this yearning in a variety of ways according to personal conscience.  Collectively, we are called to express this yearning through prayer.

We must pray that God be at work in our electoral process.  We must pray for a peaceful transition, no matter the outcome of our elections.  We must pray that the demonization of one another’s opponents which has characterized this election not be further stoked by its outcome.  We must pray that all those elected on that day be moved, strengthened and guided by the Spirit, to lead us through fractious and dangerous times.  We must pray in gratitude for those who, with sacrifice of self and noble intent, step up to lead our common life.

We the Episcopal bishops in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts call for a vigil period of intense prayer from noon on All Saints Sunday, Nov. 6 through noon on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8.  The particulars of such prayer in our congregations will vary according to local parish traditions and planning.  For some it may be as simple as concluding the Sunday prayers with an extended Litany for the Nation, or holding a special form of Morning Prayer on Nov. 8.  Others may wish to hold extended vigils, with prayer in shifts offering continuous intercession.

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges:  Guide the people of this land in the election of officials and representatives, that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [Book of Common Prayer, p. 822]

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts