The congregations of the North Central Deanery invite the rest of the congregations of the diocese to join them in a commitment to light a candle and pray for the nation on November 7, the eve of Election Day. Angst and anxiety have been building in our communities. Friends who share pews on Sunday are finding it harder and harder to relate if they lean toward different directions. We are a broken people. We have a faith that we can call upon and a tradition of common prayer that can lend words and voice to reach beyond to what we share in common, an election process, messy as it is, and a great Nation, messy as it is.
Candles offer light and hope. They resist against darkness. We light candles in prayer. We welcome the incarnation on Christmas Eve by candlelight. We hold up candles in homage when a concert touches our souls. We hold candlelight vigils in places made holy by an untimely death. And, most importantly, we light a New Fire to explore the empty tomb on Easter morning. If there is a symbol that unites the faithful, the spiritual but not religious, and the “nones,” it is probably a lighted candle.
Each congregation will offer an opportunity for prayer sometime during or through Monday, November 7. The times and formats will vary as what fits a congregation and its neighborhood the best. For example, there are churches that will be open for meditation through the day with prayers and times to catch workers on their way home, a parking lot candlelight vigil, an Episcopal-Lutheran shared service, and a 24-hour chapel especially open for the dog walkers and runners that pass by.
Our tradition of common prayer and especially our Book of Common Prayer are gifts we can freely share with those who are anxious and timid of political agendas or extemporaneous rhetoric. Let us make these events be a collective deep breath and voice offered as a way of loving our neighbors as ourselves before exercising our civil responsibility on Election Day.
Now, there are a few practical matters like promotion and media.
- “Light a Candle. Pray for the Nation.” will be promoted across the diocesan web and social media, in addition to secular media.
- There will be a virtual candlelight vigil on the www.Indydio.org web page and prayers offered at www.dailyoffice.org.
- Yard signs will be available at the diocesan convention for congregations to use if they have appropriate frontage.
- For those who want to see the Episcopal Church in print media, we are hoping for a bold ad in the IndyStar that will list every congregation participating with time, place, and format. We need to raise money for the ad. If you are moved to give, click here. Or, you may send a check to the diocesan office marked for this purpose in the subject line.
- We will have a template press release for any congregation to edit for their local media and information on local media contacts for those who need them.
- We encourage each congregation to spread the word via its own media platforms, as well.
This project is being planned as it unfolds. The coordinator for the NC Deanery is the Rev. Mary Slenski along with Kathy Copas, the diocesan coordinator for communication and evangelism. Questions? Please contact Mary+ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOUR CONGREGATION DECIDES TO PLAN A SPECIAL SERVICE, VIGIL, OR OTHER COMMEMORATION ACTIVITY, WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU BY OCTOBER 8, SO THAT WE CAN INCLUDE YOUR PLANS IN OUR PUBLICITY.
PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO email@example.com and KathyCopas@aol.com WITH THE WORDS “NOVEMBER 7 PLANS” IN THE SUBJECT LINE. TELL US WHAT YOU PLAN TO OFFER, WHEN, AND ANY OTHER DETAILS IT WOULD BE IMPORTANT FOR PARTICIPANTS TO KNOW.
Thank you for helping to share the gift of prayer throughout our diocese.