September 16, 2016 by mennopjsn
EDC happens because YOU all make it happen. You plan the services, you tell your community and colleagues about it, you generate the enthusiasm it needs. Our friend Brian Kaylor was involved an EDC service in 2012 and has written about it in his new book, Vote Your Conscience:Party Must Not Trump Principles. Thanks Brian!
(excerpt from Vote Your Conscience: Party Must Not Trump Principles by Brian Kaylor)
One of the most impressive examples of the prophetic imagination we need came on election day in 2012. Nearly 900 churches and Christian organizations held a special communion service on that day, with services in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Called “Election Day Communion,” two Mennonite pastors (one in Virginia and one in Indiana) and an Episcopalian lay author (in Michigan) launched the concept just three months before election day. And the idea quickly spread, even capturing attention in the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and dozens of local newspapers and television stations. Churches from multiple denominations participated, with some services even jointly sponsored by multiple churches from different traditions. This nonpartisan effort sought to remind us where our first allegiance lies.
“On November 6, 2012, Election Day, we will exercise our right to choose,” the initiative’s website declared, “Some of us will choose to vote for Barack Obama. Some of us will choose to vote for Mitt Romney. Some of us will choose to vote for another candidate. Some of us will choose not to vote. … But that evening while our nation turns its attention to the outcome of the presidential election, let’s again choose differently. But this time, let’s do it together. Let’s meet at the same table, with the same host, to remember the same things.”
“We’ll remember that real power in this world—the power to save, to transform, to change—ultimately rests not in political parties or presidents or protests but in the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus,” the website added. “We’ll remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the Church, a holy nation that crosses all human-made boundaries and borders. … We’ll remember that we do not conform to the patterns of this world, but we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). … And we’ll re-member the body of Christ as the body of Christ, confessing the ways in which partisan politics has separated us from one another and from God.”
It’s a reminder that regardless who wins, Jesus is still King. It’s a reminder that regardless the seemingly-important outcome, it’s not the most important thing. It’s a reminder that regardless of our disagreements on partisan politics, we are still to unite around a more important politics. I went to an Election Day Communion service at the church I attended at the time in Virginia. It started just as the polls closed, which forced me to focus on something other than the counting of ballots and the prognostications of pundits. As a political junkie, I kind of need a reminder to focus less on U.S. politics. That short service had no sermon, but included several songs and Bible readings, times for prayer and private confession, and communion. I made stickers for my church that featured a communion cup with the words “I Communed!” on it. We passed them out to people at the close of the service, many of them placing them on their shirts next to their “I Voted” stickers. While many churches held services at the close of voting, some held them during the day. Others had communion elements out for people to stop by and partake as they could during the day. This even occurred at churches used as voting locations, which means someone could go vote and then walk down the hallway and take communion.
Election Day Communion seemed like a perfect response to the nastiness of the 2012 campaign. It offered a chance for churches to reclaim the political agenda and remind people what really matters. The 2016 campaign needs this response even more. So let’s plan Election Day Communion services at our churches. Let’s get far more than 900 involved. And let’s advertise the service for a month beforehand. Mention it each Sunday during that month and in other communication your church puts out. That way, during the month when the presidential campaign will likely be at its most intense, we’ll all be reminding people of a more important political commitment to make on November 8. Amen!