UCC co-sponsors Faith in Democracy vigil near Jan. 6 insurrection anniversary

In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 5, staff from the United Church of Christ’s Washington, D.C., Office joined with interfaith partners for a “Faith in Democracy” prayer vigil.

The UCC co-sponsored the event, which was hosted by the Franciscan Action Network and joined by a long list of interfaith partners. A recording of the event, together with a list of featured speakers and all of the event’s co-sponsors, can be found here.

The participating organizations felt it was important to mark this third anniversary since the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, while entering a crucial election year when the threat of political violence is still very real.

“As people of faith, we are called to act as peacemakers and bridge-builders,” the event’s description highlighted. “We will begin 2024 by calling on all Americans to respect and improve our democracy as the best way to resolve political differences in our country nonviolently.”

The Rev. Michael Neuroth, director of the UCC’s Washington office, reflected on how gathering on the occasion of the Jan. 6 anniversary “brought back vivid memories of both the physical and political violence of that day, a day in which our own faith symbols — the cross and the Bible — were displayed on t-shirts and carried by those engaging in violent acts of conspiracy and domestic terrorism — all in the name of God and country. 

“We cannot let our faith be hijacked or our voices be silenced in the face of such hate and viciousness,” he added.

‘We are not alone’

Neuroth called for those in the UCC to confront the threat posed by far-right religious extremism.

“We must stand together as people of faith for basic principles of love and civility, and be willing to face the fact that Christian Nationalism is indeed real and must be addressed directly,” he said. “We address it by working to strengthen our democracy and the fundamental principles our nation is based upon: equality, human rights, the rule of law, separation of church and state, and fair and free elections.”

Speakers from the vigil read from their respective sacred texts and highlighted common themes like respecting the dignity of each person, how faith can help unite rather than divide and the call to be seekers of peace with justice.

The vigil also highlighted a repeated call to action: protect and strengthen our democracy.

Attendees gathered in support of “the need to improve our democratic system as the best way we have to resolve differences, and to keep improving it to ensure all voices are heard and all disputes can be resolved,” said Michele Dunne, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network.

These suggested improvements included calls for passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

“As I stood with other faith leaders on the hallowed ground of the Capitol, I was reminded just how far we still have to go as a nation — but also that we are not alone in that work,” Neuroth said.  


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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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