Sunday School: Faith and Politics

Sunday School for Sunday, June 28, 2020

America’s Original Sin, by Jim Wallis comes with a very challenging 6-week study guide to help congregations educate themselves so they can pursue effective change.

The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

The following is found on p. 292 of the Book of Common Prayer

Celebrant        Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?
People             I do.

Celebrant        Do you believe in God the Father?
People             I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Celebrant        Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People             I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant        Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People            I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Q.        Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
A.         I will, with God’s help.

Q.        Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
A.         I will, with God’s help.

Q.        Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
A.         I will, with God’s help.

Q.        Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
A.         I will, with God’s help.

Q.        Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
A.         I will, with God’s help.

The Celebrant concludes the Renewal of Vows as follows
May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and
bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, keep us in eternal life by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

What are the rules about churches and politics?

Churches, as nonprofit organizations, must follow certain guidelines when participating in elections. Churches may not campaign, openly or otherwise, for or against candidates for public office. IRS guidelines permit houses of worship to involve their members in the political process through education, voter registration, and candidate participation in town halls. Here are more resources on what your church can and cannot do during election season.

The IRS also has a publication that can be used as a guide for election engagement activities titled  “Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations.”

How is the Episcopal Church involved in Politics?

The Office of Government Relations (OGR) represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. and helps to shape the discussion of political issues throughout the Church.

The policy priorities are decided by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church when they meet every three years.

 

The current priorities of the General Convention are:

  • Creation Care
  • Racial Reconciliation
  • Ending Poverty
  • Migration, Refugees & Immigration
  • Human Rights & Peacebuilding

How can Christians be involved in politics?

“Getting souls to the polls isn’t just about casting our own vote, but about working together so we all can vote and vote faithfully. We can empower every voice in our congregations in this work.”

The Office of Government Relations recently put out this helpful guide, Vote Faithfully: An Election Engagement Toolkit. It includes action steps as well as some scriptural and liturgical resources to help churches as well as individual Christians get involved. This year’s focus is on “getting souls to the polls”!

  • Become a poll worker
  • Register voters
  • Help people get to the polls, or at least know where they are
  • Encourage voter participation by talking to friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors
  • Advocate for voter rights, oppose voter suppression
  • Educate yourself on the issues that matter in your community, including ballot measures and local elections

How else? What does it mean to you to be a Christian voter?

Check out our new resource page for Faith and Public Life

Register for our book study on “America’s Original Sin,” by Jim Wallis

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