Tensions are running high across the country. Election results may take days or even weeks to be tallied and confirmed – and chances are good they’ll be contested for longer than that. This is a highly contentious and anxious time for many Americans.
Christian communities can be safe havens to wait, pray, support one another, develop action plans for potential outcomes, and foster hope. And Christian leaders can be key figures in de-escalating tensions.
If you fear retaliation for “getting political”, find encouragement (and some legal clarity) from Brian McLaren, Peter Wallace, Cameron Trimble, and Sharon Temple and gain insight in using your November sermons to help your congregation defend democracy.
Start by doing what you can to empower voting: get essential info at the Office of the Secretary of State. MNIPL and Vote Common Good have resources for empowering community members with information essential to making sure every voter votes.
Encourage voting throughout your community. Check out our Census & Voter lib guide for a number of Get-Out-the-Vote events you can create and/or support. There are great youth and intergenerational opportunities here!
Inform voters about mail-in ballot limitations and the recent federal court ruling about ballots received after Election Day. If they have already mailed in their ballot, they can track it at mnvotes.org to ensure it arrives. If it doesn’t arrive by Nov. 3, they can invalidate that ballot and vote in person. If they haven’t mailed in their ballot, it’s too late. They can visit iwillvote.com to find a drop-off location near them.
Help folks get to the polls: MNIPL has crews of volunteers ready to give folks – or their ballots – a ride (up to an hour outside the Twin Cities) simply by filling out this form. If you live further out, you might create a similar service as a community outreach.
Equip yourself and other leaders with messaging and de-escalation tactics with Faithful America’s Media and Messaging Training for Leaders, Nonviolent Civil Action for People of Faith 2.0, and/or De-escalation Best Practices.
Prepare people for the decision to be delayed by several days (at least). NPR’s If There’s No Election Night Winner, Don’t Panic is full of information that should be shared far and wide.
Support voters by ensuring that every vote is counted. Faithful America encourages finding a Protect the Results event near you – or creating one for your community: great ways to include all ages in community engagement.
Create safe space for prayer, grief, comfort, hope, etc.: emotions are going to run the gamut as the decision is determined. Denominations and artists are offering templates and liturgical elements for prayer vigils, Sunday and mid-week worship before and after Election Day, and more.
Invite your community to de-stress with The Center for Congregational Song & The Hymn Society‘s non-partisan 12-hour Election Day Concert, Shalem Institute‘s Election Day Prayer Vigil (sign up to receive the zoom link), The Poor People’s Campaign Prayerful Action (7:00 AM – 7:00 PM CST) or Prophetic Prayer Vigil (8:00-10:30 PM CST) and/or The Many’s Lament Together (Nov. 4, 8:00 CST). Vote, then sing, listen and pray – together.
Offer healing dialogue in the aftermath with any of several great books. See our Census & Voting lib guide (scroll all the way to the bottom for books) and our Conflict, Division & Resolution lib guide for options.
Mostly, be a presence in your community throughout these next days and weeks. Folks are looking for places to work together toward a more hopeful future and places where they can find safety and belonging. We are the church for these reasons!