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Pastoral statement regarding the federal elections

Posted: November 4 2020 at 07:47 AM
Author: Bishop Sally Dyck

I hope all of you who are eligible to vote exercised this important civic responsibility. Now we await the official outcome of the election for the President of the United States.  

Most if not all of us are weary from the pre-election season and knowing the result would be a relief. But there are various methods of voting affected by various state laws, which means that it could take days before there is an official outcome. While we wait for the final outcome, there may be all kinds of rumors, name-calling, protests, threats and demonstrations.  

As United Methodists, we support civil disobedience but “do not encourage or condone any form of violent protest as a legitimate exercise of free speech or civil disobedience” (Social Principles, par. 164.F). Click here to review helpful guidelines published by the National Council of Churches to prevent violence and de-escalate violent encounters. If you plan to participate in any civil disobedience, protests, or demonstrations, I encourage you to read and follow these guidelines.

For those who are not planning to participate in any civil disobedience, protest or demonstration, I would also encourage you to avoid contributing to harm by not responding to every social media post that aggravates you, to every rumor or unofficial results, and to arguments with family and friends.  Also, I would hope that our churches will be careful and respectful of each other in our differences over the election.  

I find it agonizing to wait and feel on edge. The word that came to me this morning was “best.” Be one’s best self! Since all we can control is ourselves, let us exercise the fruit of the Spirit that culminates in self-control: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Please join me in praying for our nation and each other during this time of waiting for the final outcome. And let us abide by this scripture: “So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18, NRSV).

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