Dear Lay and Clergy of the East Ohio Conference,
The polls will close on November 3. If you have not already voted, I encourage you to do so.
Voting is not only a right but a civic responsibility. Resolution 5012 of The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2016 states, “While declaring our ultimate allegiance is to God, Scripture recognizes that faithfulness to God requires political engagement by the people of God.” Voting can be an act of discipleship. Voting for policies and individuals that embody our shared values of beloved community, peace and justice is one way we give witness to our faith and engage our faith in the world to bring about God’s kingdom on earth as it in in heaven.
We have been bombarded with divisive and hateful rhetoric during this election season which further exacerbates the trauma being experienced as a result of the compounded pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. People of every generation are impacted by these ongoing pervasive forces that have created and contributed to an environment of exhaustion, fear, anxiety and mistrust. And the reality is that after November 3, and after the election results are confirmed, the social and political conditions of our nation could become even more volatile. What shall be our response?
No matter the outcome of the election, let us remember that as disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to be front line workers in these unparalleled and uncertain times. We are called to continue to proclaim and to work for peace, justice and the welfare for all of God’s beloved children. We are called to continue to extend the love of God and to engage in acts of compassion and civility for the reconciliation and healing of our communities and nation. We are called to be harbingers of hope, remaining steadfast in God’s provision that even in the darkest of times God is always at work being light and bringing good out of despair. We are called to pray for our leaders and communities for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven … that God’s love, peace and justice will prevail.
May the Lord fortify our hearts and give us the grace, courage and strength we need to be on the front lines sharing the love of God, offering hope and working for the common good and welfare for all persons. May we continue to put our trust in God who gives us power to overcome evil with good and the power to overcome hatred with love. May we continue to have the vision and faith to believe and work for a world where violence, injustice and suffering will be no more.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” - Philippians 4:5-8
Let it be so.
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
Board of Ministry
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
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North Canton, OH 44720
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