From a young age, my mom taught and showed me the importance of living out my faith through civic engagement. Whether writing letters to elected officials, visiting legislators when they were in session, testifying at committee hearings, or showing up to march in support of a particular issue, she taught me that my voice mattered, and she frequently invited me to join her efforts. My mom did these things because she was a person of faith and because our Catholic parish encouraged and supported this commitment. Together we wrote a lot of letters, licked a lot of envelopes, and marched many steps. And it’s only been in recent years that I have fully realized how the values she modeled for me about the engagement of people of faith in civic life laid the groundwork for my own values and beliefs.
On the other hand, many people are taught that faith and politics don’t mix – that we shouldn’t “rock the boat” or risk violating the separation of church and state by taking a stand. And in my experience, it has most often been so-called “mainline Christians” who have not taken a stand in the public square and whose voices have been lost. Fortunately, this seems to be changing. With the leadership of people like United Church of Christ pastor Yvette Flunder; founder of Poor People’s Campaign and pastor, William Barber; and our own Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, we are witnessing a renewed commitment to re-joining the public square and using our voices as people of faith to address public policy in light of our religious convictions.
Bishop Curry in his Word to the Church this past September reminded us that “partisan neutrality does not mean moral neutrality.” Our faith calls us to always act in service to Jesus’ command to love – love of God, love of neighbor. And one way we can demonstrate that love is through our engagement in civic life. On Sunday, we will celebrate “Vote Faithfully Sunday,” and you can read more about it in this newsletter. Also on Sunday, we all have the chance to participate in a United Power for Action and Justice action with State Senator Don Harmon. The action will take place via Zoom and Facebook Live from 1:15-2:30. There are only a few Zoom spots left but unlimited space on Facebook. When we show up together to advocate with our neighbors for affordable housing, and mental health and criminal justice reform, we demonstrate that people of faith are willing to put their commitments into action and use their power to demand change. If you are able, I hope you will join us.
As always, there is an abundance of things to do at All Saints’ – which is part of the reason I so love this community. And, in the midst of the busy-ness, as we prepare for our feast day of All Saints’, enter the final days leading up to the election, and continue to live through the impact of the pandemic, I invite us all to breathe and remember that each and every person is God’s beloved, made in God’s image with a seat at God’s welcome table.
All my best,