By Kara Witherow, Editor
On a day when Americans are sharply divided, many South Georgia churches are trying to bridge that divide with prayer.
Several churches are opening their sanctuaries to prayer, hosting Election Day prayer services, and using the day as an opportunity to bring unity to fractured communities.
“There is such a sense of division, rancor, and anger within our nation and world,” said Rev. Cathy Green, pastor of Pinson Memorial United Methodist Church in Sylvester, which hosted a Community Prayer Service at noon and has its sanctuary open for prayer until 7 p.m. tonight. “We wanted to let the community know that we believe that, come tomorrow, Jesus will still be Lord. Though the outcome of the election is important, what’s more important is the need for personal and spiritual renewal within our churches and our communities.”
At noon today, Centerville United Methodist Church invited the community to participate in a 30-minute service of song, prayer, and communion. A chance to seek God and pray for the election and the country, it was a time that reminded those in attendance of their hope in God.
“It was a way to say our trust is, ultimately, in God,” said Rev. Anthony McPhail, pastor of Centerville UMC. “As people of faith we’re called to pray for our country. It was a place of centering, a place of peace, a place to be reminded that we are not to contribute to the angry yelling back and forth, but to be people of justice and peace, and to live that out with the way we interact with the world."
Not political, these congregations are simply providing places for prayers of peace and unity before and after the election. And whether inside a church or out, these pastors encourage voters to pause to pray about our nation’s future.
The election will be over tomorrow, but the need for prayer remains. Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon will open its sanctuary tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 9, for all who wish to pray or sit and experience the peace of Christ.
“Tomorrow is a significant day,” said Rev. Jimmy Towson, senior pastor of Mulberry Street UMC, saying that some people will be elated and others deeply disappointed in the election’s outcome. “We want to open the sanctuary so people can come intentionally to pray for unity, healing, and peace. Now that the election is over … this is the time to do that, to come before the Lord and plead for unity and peace. We need to pray for whoever the new president will be.”
Throughout the day, United Methodists in the South Georgia Conference help make it clear that prayer is a vital act of living in covenant with God and one another. These times of quiet discernment are a respite from worldly challenges and stress. Let us continue to prayerfully seek God’s wisdom tomorrow and throughout the year, giving thanks for His unending grace, mercy, provision, and love.