Pandemic Ponderings of the Transitional Executive Presbyter

Pandemic Ponderings
from the Transitional Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley
October 19, 2020
         If you’re an Alabamian, today is the deadline to register to vote in order to participate in the November election. So, if you’re not registered to vote, stop reading this and go get registered.
Why the urgency, you ask?  Presbyterians have long respected and practiced the democratic process. Calvin reminds us that since all of creation is the arena of God’s activity, we as reformed Christians have a responsibility to engage the civic process as co-creators with God for a preferred future. Gregory Bentley, co-moderator of the 224th General Assembly recently noted how critical this particular election is and he shared his own voting strategy. “My voting ethic is simple,” he said. “I vote for the person that I think is going to do the greatest amount of good for the most vulnerable among us, and if I can’t get that, then I vote for the one who will do the least amount of harm, and that’s what I’m doing in November.” What is your voting ethic?
This election cycle, the integrity of the voting process itself has been called into question despite the fact that claims of widespread voter fraud are not based in fact. And worse than that, some 71% of all Americans are concerned about violence either during or in the wake of the 2020 elections as reported in an October paper released by the Carter Center entitled Talking Points for Clergy on Violence and the November Election. The paper went on to remind that “No election system is perfect, but America’s elections are some of the best in the world. The United States has successfully held elections throughout our nearly 250 years of history, including during pandemics, World Wars, and even the Civil War. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again as a country.” To read the whole paper click here.
A lot of my voting years were spent in Arizona where I had signed up for PEVL or Permanent Early Voter List. What that meant was that a few months before the election, the election board sent me my mail-in ballot automatically. (Arizona has been voting by mail for years.) So imagine my surprise when I went about getting an absentee ballot here in Alabama. Let’s just say it was somewhat more complicated. Glad Tammy is a notary! Now I’ve been checking daily on the tracker feature on the Secretary of State’s website but so far it has not been received. Believe me I will keep checking! Let no Presbyterian in Alabama not vote!
 Two weeks ago at our Thursday afternoon gathering we had a lively conversation about voting. We drifted into the church’s public witness in general. This week we are pleased to welcome the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins the director of the  PCUSA’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC. Here’s a brief bio on him.
Come and join the conversation and become more aware of how the PCUSA is represented in Washington and what opportunities we have for deeper civic engagement. The link is:
Hope to see you Thursday at 4:00pm!
As ever in prayer,
Sue Westfall

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