This year has been difficult and with God’s strength and help, you courageously led congregations and communities through these challenges. This Tuesday, and the days following, we are all being called to another challenge, leading people through a divisive election.
We want you to know, that as a cabinet, we are praying with you and are here to support you. Together, we can do all things through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:13).
At this point we do not know the reactions of individuals regardless of who wins. We know some will grieve, and others rejoice, some will be angry, and others will be satisfied. We also recognize that there may be violence and major disruption in some communities after the election. Each of us has the opportunity to console the hurting, in any celebration, not to rub salt in others’ wounds, to call people to prayer and to encourage peaceful, nonviolent, nonthreatening demonstration.
As Wesleyans in our theology and practice, we are called to three simple rules. The following are some ways to employ these rules in your leadership.
Do No Harm
- Do not let debate be the vehicle for knowing and understanding God for you or your congregation.
- See others as people, and not an issue. Understand that they matter to God just like you do. Pastor everyone the same regardless of their views.
- On the hard issues, teach and preach through story, not admonition.
- Protest as you are led by God, and let others see the Jesus within you.
Do All the Good You Can
- Lead your congregation to participate in a prayerful vigil up to, during and after Election Day.
- Have Zoom and conference calls following the election for those who need to talk with others about their feelings, fears and hopes.
- Be present with the people in your community. Be the community’s pastor.
- Identify something missional for your congregation to do this week individually and/or together.
Stay in Love with God
- Pray, fast, read the scriptures.
- Each day from now through the election, find one thing to be thankful for and one thing that went well for you during the day.
- This Sunday, tell a story about loving your neighbor, and model the story.
- Offer a healing service.
- Send the Prayer of St. Francis to your congregation and invite them to pray it daily for the next seven days. The prayer is below.
You have been called for such a time as this, called to lead God’s people through all of the challenges we are facing this year.
We also recognize as you lead, you too will need prayer and the cabinet and I are and will continue to pray constantly for you and all our clergy.
We recognize that you will need a place to share disappointment or appropriate thanksgiving. We encourage you to connect with one another. You are also welcomed to reach out to any of us. We are prepared to speak by phone or Zoom with anyone who needs a conversation partner. You can email any of us with your request and how best to reach you, and we will respond.
We also encourage you to take time for yourself. You are important to us, to your congregation and your community. Take time to pray and reflect, time to heal and time to rejuvenate. There will be more days ahead, and you are an important part of the leadership and ministry of the church.
Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I 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.