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  • Carrying One’s Faith onto the Public Square: Voting and Faithfulness

    “​Whoever is faithful in a very little, is also faithful in much…”
    —Luke 16:10

    When serving in the parish, I quickly learned that the chief task facing a Stewardship Team was getting folks to pledge. While pledging was important because it aided in budget projections, the more pressing reason had to do cultivating faithfulness in “​even little things​.” Coupled with parables Jesus told, our Lord illustrated that even when change is gradual, small actions can be profoundly consequential.

    As people of God, we may well be in the wake of the most tumultuous and I would add, precarious periods in our recent historic memory. ​Much is at stake. Yet paradoxically the fate of this year’s national election rests on our “being faithful even in little things.”  It is hard to believe, but in 2016 only 77,000 votes ​across three states​ decided the election. Given that 10.1 million voters who listed the environment and other progressive concerns as a top priority did not vote in that election, ​imagine the outcome if they had?

    Yet the good news is, is that in this period of overwhelming isolation, despair, loss, and unraveling, ​we as God’s people do have the means to change the
    ​. Small actions can be profoundly consequential. God’s Word is still speaking. Indeed, Jesus’ words then as now, “Whoever is faithful in a very little, is also faithful in much.”

    The Environmental Voter Project notes that signing a pledge to vote signifies a desire to be known as a person of your word. It is also a practice in cultivating faithfulness. Why? Because as a faith-based practice, voting carries your values into the public square​ thereby affecting policymaking and decisions.

    Convinced of the efficacy of pledging to vote, the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team is launching an initiative called the Congregation Climate Justice Voter Challenge.  Aspiring to cultivate this quality of faithfulness, already churches are being recognized in that upwards to 75% of their congregation have pledged to vote in this 2020 election, and beyond, by signing the Congregation Climate Justice Voter Challenge.

    Underscoring their commitment, the National UCC has provided ample resources to equip your congregation to vote, not only in the national election but at the local and state level as well. The ​UCC’s Our Faith, Our Vote, is a ​highly accessible, easy to use, and comprehensive program ​designed to equip our congregations to be a people of faith within their church AND in the public square. Here you will find resources for voter registration, worship resources, issue education, and getting out the vote.

    Likewise, ​the Creation Care Voter Pledge ​provides a concrete and highly accessible means for folks within a congregation to step forward in faithfulness and pledge to vote. As the UCC’s Creation Care Voter Pledge is in partnership with the Environmental Voter Project, those who pledge will receive reminders for each election – thereby helping them become more consistent and conscientious voters.

    Take heart, beloved Ones of God. The Sovereign’s Word is still speaking. Indeed, the Risen Christ urges us onward, “Whoever is faithful in a very little, is also faithful in much.

    —Rev. Dr. Jessica McArdle, Environmental Ministries Team Member

    Find links and resources on the SNEUCC website here.