Dear Companions in Christ,
Grace to you and peace in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we approach this upcoming election day we have some thoughts we’d like to share with all of you. First, we hope you will join us in the Season of Prayer: For an Election offered by the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church. This prayer novena – nine days of devotional prayers, calls upon God for discernment in voting and for the wellbeing of our nation. The Season of Prayer began Tuesday, October 27, and continues through November 4, the day after the elections in the United States.
We urge you to exercise your right to vote; and we encourage you to develop a plan to vote if you haven’t already. Whether you are submitting an absentee ballot or voting in person, we suggest that you check to make sure that you are registered properly and can vote both safely and faithfully. You can find out your voter registration status here: https://www.nass.org/can-I-vote. Once you have a plan to vote, reach out, call or text others in your family and/or circle of friends and encourage them to vote as well. Voting is a sacred trust that we should all take very seriously.
We also encourage you to practice non-violence in both words and actions in matters related to the election. The Guidelines for Mutuality offered by VISIONS, Inc. are a helpful tool in this practice. The Guidelines help to hold a holy space by prioritizing such commitments as: “It’s okay to disagree” and “It’s not okay to blame, shame or attack self or others.” We also invite you to consider signing the pledge to refrain from carrying firearms at or near polling places offered by Bishops United Against Gun Violence.
When November 4th approaches, we may or may not know the results of the presidential election right away. It is possible that it could take days or even weeks before the final outcome is clear. Any delay in knowing the results of the presidential election could lead to anxiety, fear, and confusion in many of us. We urge you to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings and take proper measures to prioritize the mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of yourselves and one another. We know that anxiety and stress left unattended can lead to unhealthy and precipitous and unintentional actions. We also invite you to join with us in a Faithful Futures program on Thursday, November 5 at 6:00 pm online to process our national elections as a community of faith. Registration is here. In all that you do at this time, please be kind to yourself and your fellow Americans. Take the time to pray, breathing God’s love into your awareness and breathing out God’s love into the world.
As people of faith, we put our hope and trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For it is in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, that our faith and security lie. We leave you with additional resources below from the Episcopal Public Policy Network and a prayer attributed to St. Francis found on page 833 in the Book of Common Prayer:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
God bless us all.
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens
Bishop Diocesan Bishop Suffragan