- (Photo: electiondaycommunion.org)
Several Mennonite pastors have initiated the Election Day Communion campaign, which calls on churches in the U.S. to deliver a special communion on Nov. 6, the date of the 2012 presidential elections, to remind Christians of their unity under Christ.
The purpose of the nationwide campaign, according to its official website, is to remind Christians that "the Church [is] being the Church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord's Table to remember, to practice, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its allegiance to Christ."
The campaign began due to "a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by their identity in and allegiance to Jesus," according to the Election Day Communion website.
Pastor Mark Schloneger of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind., first had the idea for an Election Day communion service in 2008, when Barack Obama was running against GOP candidate John McCain for the U.S. presidency.
"I just sensed within the congregation that we needed to be reminded both of our unity in Christ and also where our hope as Christians lies and where our allegiance is," Pastor Schloneger told The Christian Post.
"I felt there was no better way to do that than the practice of communion," Schloneger added.
Schloneger went on to tell CP that he always thought it would be a good idea to branch Election Day Communion out to the wider church, saying he believes oftentimes politics can serve as a divider in a church's unity, and therefore it was important for all Christians to come together on a day they put much political emphasis on and offer their allegiance to God.
Although Schloneger founded the Election Day Communion campaign with fellow Mennonite pastor Kevin Gasser of Staunton Mennonite Church in Staunton, Va., and Ben Irwin, a member of the Episcopal Church, the founders want this campaign to reach all Christian denominations nationally.
So far, the campaign has managed to register 450 churches in 48 states. Churches in Mississippi and Wyoming have yet to register to show their participation.
To register, pastors of churches simply sign up their congregation online; no fees or commitment are required. The campaign website indicates that special materials and guidelines will be supplied to churches interested in participating.
"Who are we? We are the Church, and we're in this together – together, with Jesus," the campaign's website reads.
Schloneger told CP that he expects by Oct. 28 that the campaign will have reached 600 churches across the U.S.