A Pastoral Letter from President Mellott

November 2, 2020

Friends of God,

Election day is almost here and my soul is troubled.I’m not only concerned about the outcome of so many of the races, but also concerned about the condition of our country, our union. We are divided, and we are seeing in greater relief that our divisions are deep and longstanding. Furthermore, we continue to make choices in our country to reinforce those divisions.

We are also seeing major cracks in the public structures, at every level. For many of us, this is anxiety producing because the extent of this damage is becoming clearer each day. Healthcare, education, housing, employment, politics, economics, religion, and our legal system all need attention. Our problems cannot be fixed with minor patchwork. We desperately need to reimagine new patterns and practices for our common life.

Many have noted how hard 2020 has been. As true as that statement is, it masks the reality that every year is hard for many people in this country. The events of 2020 have forced us as a country to look into a mirror. Most of the country has not liked what it has seen, even if the reasons vary. As a country, we continue to curate a desire for power, domination, wealth, and comfort, which provides the foundation for racial discrimination, violence against LGBTQIA people, disregard for those living in poverty, and fear of the immigrant.

When the election is finally over, we will have a lot of work to do. Our country is fragile and traumatized. We need wise leadership in Washington, D.C., but we also need wise leaders in all our cities and communities, including communities of faith. There will be many voices calling for healing. While I’m all for healing, I’m also aware that rushing toward healing can stem from a desire to return to the status quo. That is something that we cannot let happen. We must use this time to become even more honest about how exploitation, miseducation, and violent force became acceptable mechanisms of control and domination in our country.

As those called to provide religious and pastoral leadership, we must cultivate wisdom and resilience in our communities. We must remind one another that it is possible to build communities where all God’s people can flourish. Our sacred texts repeatedly tell us that God has entrusted this work to us.

We don’t need to have all the answers. No single person does. The truth is that we will need to work together to reimagine what life could be like in this country. We need each other.

On November 5 I’ll be hosting a panel of local religious leaders to talk about our responsibility in the moments following the election. I’m hoping that you’ll join us. Even if you can’t join us, I hope that you’ll take some time now to engage in discernment with your communities about how you all are called to lead and serve your communities and our country in the days and weeks ahead.

May God grant us the courage, wisdom, and resilience needed for this hour.

In the Spirit,