After Election Day…

I had the honor of writing this letter, which was signed by nearly 45 area clergy.  It represents our hope and prayer for our country in the days following the election on November 8th.

On November 9th, we awake to the results of an election that has bitterly divided our nation.  It is tempting to proclaim winners and losers and to treat this election cycle like a sporting match where one party has emerged victorious at the expense of the other.

But to do so would be a grave mistake. In the aftermath of such an election season we will all need to work diligently to repair the damage done. Those who founded this country believed that there is more that unites us than there is that divides us. The candidates who celebrate victory on election night must rise in the morning prepared to govern for the good of all people, including those who voted against them.  To forget this is to forget the history of this great nation, to forget the ideals and the hope of government of the people, by the people, for the people.

We are leaders of faith communities that, for centuries, have had many disagreements.  And yet, we believe that what is more important than those things that divide us are those things that bring us together.  In that spirit, our prayer for our community and for our nation is that we might set aside the rancor and bitterness of the campaign season in order to remember that we are Americans together. Together, we pray for the wisdom to remember the challenge of Isaiah: that our life together depends upon our ability to turn the swords and spears of hostility and division into the plowshares and pruning hooks of peace and unity.

May God be with us all, and the wisdom of the Divine guide those who lead the people, this day and every day. Amen.

 

Rev. Bruce Ballantine Morrisville Presbyterian Church

Rev. Wendy Bellis Morrisville United Methodist Church

Rev. Kyle Benoit Greater Grace Community Church

Rev. Josh Blakesley Warminster United Church of Christ

Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy Congregation Kol Emet

Rev. Catherine Bowers St. Andrews United Methodist Church

Rev. Luky Cotto Casa del Pueblo Latino Ministry of Lehman Memorial UMC

Rev. Dr. Nancy Dilliplane Trinity Buckingham Episcopal Church

Rev. Chris Edwards Northampton Presbyterian Church

Rev. Susan Fall Forest Grove Presbyterian Church

Rev. Laura Ferguson Newtown Presbyterian Church

Rev. Joshua D. Gill Doylestown Presbyterian Church

Rev. Bailey Heckman Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church

Rev. Debbie Heffernan Morrisville Presbyterian Church

Rev. Doug Hoglund Woodside Presbyterian Church

Mary Dyer Hubbard Pastoral Counselor

Rev. Lynn Hade Church of the Advent

Rev. Keith Ingram Bucks County Seventh Day Adventist Church

Rev. Stacey Jones-Anderson First United Methodist Church Bristol 

Rev. Catherine D. Kerr Good Shepherd Episcopal Church

Rev. Nathan Krause Redeemer Lutheran Church

Rev. Bill Lentz Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church

Rev. Nancy Ludwig Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church

Rev. Joe Martin Fallsington United Methodist Church

Rev. Sam Massengill Newtown Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dr. Kari McClellan First Presbyterian of Levittown

Rev. Mary McCullough Trinity Episcopal Church Ambler

Rev. Dorry Newcomer Newtown United Methodist Church

Rev. Jake Presley Bux-Mont Baptist Church

Rev. Eric Reimer St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Rev. Keith Roberts Doylestown Presbyterian Church

Rev. Michael Ruk, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, New Hope

Rev. Janet L. Saddel St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Warrington

Rev. Michael Saunders Crossway Community Church

Chaplain Susan Sciarratta Counselor, Insight Christian Counseling

Rev. Barbara Seekford Chalfont United Methodist Church

Rev. Stuart H. Spencer Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church

Rev. Doug Stratton Hatboro Baptist Church

Rev. Mark Studer Neshaminy-Warwick Presbyterian Church

Rev. Jim Sutton New Britain Baptist Church

Rev. Bill Teague Langhorne Presbyterian Church

Rev. Lorelei K. Toombs Willow Grove United Methodist Church

Rev. Sarah Weisiger Ivyland Presbyterian Church

Rev. John Willingham Doylestown Presbyterian Church

 

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In the Struggle there is Hope

I went on a retreat a few weeks back with my fellow seminarians where we spent almost two days in seclusion on the property of some Cistercian nuns in Southern Massachusetts. It was a great experience for me, to a great extent because it was intentional space set apart from the world around me, space in which I could think and reflect before diving into a new semester. It was meant to provide peace and comfort, community and grace to those of us who came.

And it did. For in many ways, now that I am in the thick of classes, and feeling the beginnings of stress again, that retreat reminds me that it is always possible to set aside time for oneself. One of the most meaningful things that we did while we were there, actually, was to practice silence. Which can be lonely, but in a room full of people, it felt so full and spiritual. I was also touched by the rituals in which we partook. At the end of the retreat, in particular, we were asked to each write something to ourselves, something that we wished to take with us when we left the retreat center. Then, we placed our wishes for ourselves in a bowl and each of us picked a new wish to take with ourselves out of the bowl. My new message said the following:

“Be at peace with the struggles and joys of the journey– you are on the right path.”

I cannot tell you how often I have found myself returning to that small piece of lined yellow paper in the past few weeks. For this semester has not been easy. I had begun my spring thinking that I had addressed the major problems and concerns of my last semester, confident that this was the time to figure them out, to explore more intentionally what was meaningful to me and to be unabashedly myself. Then I watched in disbelief as my safety net began to crumble. My character was attacked by a fellow student. Then my roommate began to have problems. I found myself being attacked by those who are in pain themselves, people whom I did not ever try or intend to hurt, but people who nonetheless feel hurt by me. I began to wonder– is this where God wants me? Did I take a wrong turn? Why all of this suffering, God?

And still I wonder. I am worried out of my mind for my roommate, who becomes more paranoid by the day and whom I feel helpless to aid. The issues that surround that such that I don’t want to go into it on a blog, but I can say that she is very hurt and that many of the things that I believe in and participate in, both in school and in faith, are painful for her.

How does one protect oneself when the one who is attacking her does it not out of anger but rather of pain? Knowing my roommate, she is a kind person who is suffering. I feel as though I am targeted by her because of what I represent, but at the same time I know that what I represent and how i relate to the world makes her feel unsafe and attacked. Who is to blame then? How does one heal? What can we do? These are all questions that I have no answers to. I can only hope there is an answer somewhere, and trust in the little yellow sheet and the soul that formed it, that there is hope in this struggle, that there is peace, and that this is the journey I was meant to take.