It is time to work together to build community
November 7, 2012
A post-election Pastoral Letter from the Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Scriptures remind us that building right relationships in human community is at the very core of our faith. Our faith provides us with spiritual resources to take the conversation to a different level. We are called to a high standard of engagement with our neighbors, even those with whom we may disagree. We can choose respect and hope over animosity and bitterness. We can choose to listen and learn rather than attack and insult. We can choose to have civic discussions in civil tones.
Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ has forgiven you. [Ephesians 4: 31-32]
Divisive and heated words have dominated the airwaves and the public dialogue over the past many months during this election campaign season. With the election behind us, our voice as people of faith is needed now more than ever. We can play a unique role by encouraging civil, respectful dialogue that builds community and a hope-filled vision of the future that extends God’s extravagant welcome to all people.
These are challenging times for our local communities, our country and the world. We cannot shy away from our responsibility to be part of public life. If we wonder whether we should be part of the election process, we need only remember the witness of Jesus who challenged the powers and principalities in search of justice for the “least of these.” Yesterday’s election was our opportunity to follow His lead as we participated in making decisions that order our common life in a way that is faithful to God’s message of love.
In the midst of all this, tens of thousands experienced tragic losses last week. Many lost their lives or their loved ones. Far more lost their homes and communities. Those affected showed the world that they may have lost their electricity, but not their power. We know you will pray with us for all who courageously cared for one another through the storm and in the aftermath. Please support the rebuilding that is ahead of us in the hurricane torn regions of this country.
Furthermore, as the Officers of the United Church of Christ, we pray for our civic leaders who were just elected and for those who were not. We will continue to be a BOLD PUBLIC VOICE. We will not avoid discussions about the hard issues. We will not be silent in the public square where decisions are being made. We must take charge of our democracy and demand a nonpartisan approach to problem solving. We promise to be a voice of hope as we claim the future of this country, seeking community that works together for the common good. We will do so in the spirit of Jesus the Christ, the One who came to show us the way to peace, love, and reconciliation.
The Collegium of Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President
W. Mark Clark
Associate General Minister
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Minister, Local Church Ministries
The Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo
Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos
Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries