September 16, 2020
Dear friends in Christ,
The November election gives Americans a precious opportunity to support candidates and policies that will build up communities, protect public health, encourage racial and social justice, and restore the web of life. This election will set the course on climate change and other critical issues that are central to our faith. Many of us consider it the most significant election of our lifetime.
We encourage every eligible voter in our diocese to ensure that they are registered and, if possible, to vote early (in person or by mail), thereby avoiding long lines at polling places. Your completed Vote by Mail ballot can also be dropped off at a drop box. For complete information about voting in Massachusetts, visit the Website: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/
Taking part in elections and casting a vote is an important way for Christians to express our values and priorities. As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has reminded us, “It is a Christian obligation to vote.”
In these weeks before the election, we also encourage members of our diocese to help mobilize people in other parts of the country to vote. Reach out to family and friends and let them know how important it is to cast their ballot. Please consider connecting with a voting rights group and volunteer some time to make phone calls or write letters or postcards. We can help to fight voter suppression and to encourage people of faith to vote. Below are two non-partisan campaigns that give people a way to volunteer from home.
1. Reclaim Our Vote is a volunteer-driven, nonpartisan voter outreach campaign organized by the Center for Common Ground of Virginia. With the help of Black Voters Matter, DemLabs, Mi Familia Vota, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Unitarian Universalists (UU The Vote), the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), the American Ethical Union, and other organizations, we’re contacting voters of color in key voter suppression states – by phone, mail, texting, and through billboards and radio ads – to ask voters of color to check their registration status, re-register, and vote. Volunteers can write postcards or do phone-banking.
To learn more:http://centerforcommonground.org/main/index.php/campaigns/reclaim-our-vote
To get involved, sign up here:https://actionnetwork.org/forms/reclaim-our-vote-signup
2. Faith Climate Justice Voter Campaign, organized by Interfaith Power & Light, mobilizes people of faith to vote with climate and Creation in mind. This national campaign has a major focus in seven states: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. From Massachusetts, we can support the Faith Climate Voter Campaign by reaching out to people of faith in the seven focus states, encouraging them to get more involved and to vote in November. You will receive all the tools and training you need to volunteer remotely from home!
If you or your congregation is interested in volunteering to help the Campaign, please fill our this form:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NG1L6XW4L_D4hRNj457Q_FOhne7_anrgeax4hpX0eu4/viewform?edit_requested=true
The Campaign will connect you with volunteer activities you can help with.
Don’t forget to take the Faith Climate Voter Pledge and ask others to do the same!
The Episcopal Church has prepared a toolkit for the 2020 election. A collaborative effort with the ELCA and UCC, it includes concerns about COVID-19,a strategy for congregational communication, resources for mobilization and advocacy, and liturgical recommendations for observing “Vote Faithfully Sunday,” on October 25. Download the toolkit here.
Finally, we bid your prayers for our country as Election Day approaches.
17. For the Nation
Lord God Almighty, who hast made all the peoples of the earth for thy glory, to serve thee in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with thy gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— The Book of Common Prayer, 207.
The Rt. Reverend Douglas J. Fisher
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
Canon to the Ordinary The Reverend Dr. Richard M. Simpson
Social Justice Commission
- Ms. Leah Gregg Co-chair
- Ms. Cynthia Pease, Co-Chair
- The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas ex-officio
- The Rev. Lauren Holm ex-officio
- The Rev. Vicki Ix ex-officio
- Ms. Alexizendria Link
- The Rev. Linda Taupier
- The Rev. Jane Tillman
- The Rev. Dave Woessner
Beloved Community Commission
- Ms. Lee Cheek, co-chair
- The Rev. Dr. Harvey Hill, co-chair
- Ms. Cynthia Pease
- The Rev. Pamela Porter
- Ms. Wende Wheeler
- The Rev. Vicki Ix, ex officio
- Ms. Alexizendria Link
- The Rev. Michael J. Ramsey-Musolf
Missioner for Creation Care The Reverend Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Hispanic/Latino Ministries The Reverend José Reyes
Executive Director, Building Bridges Veterans Initiative The Reverend Chris Carlisle
Urban Missioner The Reverend Meredyth Ward
Missioner for Congregational Vitality The Reverend Pamela J. Mott
Missioner for Spirituality and Leadership The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith
Missioner for Servant Leadership The Reverend Jennifer Gregg
Dean, Berkshires Region The Reverend Michael Tuck
Dean, Franklin – Hampshire Region The Reverend Tanya R. Wallace
Dean, Hampden Region The Reverend Peter Swarr
Dean, Worcester Region The Reverend Aileen DiBenedetto