As any mother or indeed anyone who shares in raising children knows, caregivers have an enormous influence on those young lives. We want and hope our children grow up feeling safe and loved, in good health, developing a lifelong curiosity regarding the world around them and with the possibility to do meaningful work.
One week and a hundred years ago today on August 18, 1920, the quiet urging in a mother’s letter to her 24-year-old son was the tipping point for the vote that ratified the 19th Amendment. This gave American Women the vote after seventy years of fighting for equal rights; Harry. T. Burns voted yes in the face of intense pressure from politicians and even his own constituents. “Vote for suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt” was one of the three things she urged him to do in the letter. Never underestimate the power of a Mother’s constant, quiet exhortation to do the right thing!
At FCC we are all children of God, and as such we are held as part of an infinitely larger community. We build the foundations of our lives of faith following the example of Christ in our daily lives. It is as members of this family we are called to go into the world and lift up the lives of our fellow citizens. But there is still so much to do to create anything resembling equal rights for all in this country.
Voting has been for many, many people a very hard-won privilege and even today is still yet to be attained by innumerable disenfranchised people. It is a right not to be treated lightly and we owe it to all those who have fought in the past for decades and who still struggle to not keep anyone in any doubt that we must use our votes to make our voices heard.
The story of Febb Burn gently nudging her son in the right direction in 1920 resonates deeply with me because I am not a U.S. citizen, and thereby cannot vote. However as a Mother I have been heavily pressuring (nagging) my now grown-up children and their friends to make sure they are registered, have access to vote by mail and that they use their votes to create a country they can be proud of.
So, the point of all this is to urge you as my fellow FCC family members to please take part in the Congregation Climate Justice Voter Challenge. This is an initiative by the Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ, that FCC’s Environmental Justice ministry is spearheading to get 75% of our congregation to pledge to vote. Already other churches in our wider conference are signing on as leaders, and are asking FCC to join them.
Next Thursday, August 20, at 5pm there will be a Zoom gathering. I’ll be on hand with other Environmental Justice representatives, to answer any questions, and how FCC can join with other UCC churches in “such a time as this.” A zoom link will be sent out early next week.
Thank you for your patience, stay well, I miss you all.