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Post-election communion organizers hope faith can unite where politics divide

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

“Christians have allowed partisan politics to divide them,” Rev. Kathy Naish told the Times-News on Friday.
Pastor of First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Lincolnton, Naish was saddened over the way in which Christian churches have increasingly become more passionate about their political views than their love for Christ.
As a result, her church plans to host “Election Day Communion” for all county congregations Tuesday night after the polls close. The Lincolnton church will be one of more than 700 churches, schools and groups across the country celebrating the event, according to electiondaycommunion.com.
The website said the idea “began with 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.”
“Across the nation, the invitation is for Christians to come to the table and celebrate the Lord’s supper together regardless of political beliefs and denominations and reaffirm their commitment to Christ,” Naish said.
Worship and Scripture reading will also be a part of the service.
Mark Schloneger, pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind., created the now nationwide grassroots movement after his congregation experienced great discord over their opposing political loyalties.
“The pastor there noticed his congregation was deeply polarized,” Naish said.
In a blog Schloneger posted Saturday on CNN.com, he wrote the following statement about the movement: “On Tuesday, as the world turns its attention to who will occupy the most powerful office of the world’s most powerful nation, hundreds of churches will gather across the United States to worship a servant.”
While the event is set to take place on election night, the focus of the service will be more about unifying Christian believers and reconciling their differences than current politics.
“It’s not a political message but a reconciliation message,” Naish said.
Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Boger City Wesleyan Church, both in Lincolnton, are at least two other area churches that will be in attendance Tuesday.
“We’re just coming together to pray for our nation and worship the Lord,” Rev. J.V. Allen of Boger City Wesleyan told the Times-News.
“Times are rough; unemployment is high. So many people here in the county are needing help. We need to do what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray … then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.’ ”
Naish hopes Lincoln County Christians participate in the event every four years with each presidential election.
The event will start 7 p.m. at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Lincolnton.
For more information, visit electiondaycommunion.com or call the church at (704) 735-9843.

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