At least eight Holston churches are participating in a national Election Day Communion involving more than 700 churches of all denominations.
The churches will celebrate Holy Communion at these times:
- Madam Russell (Abingdon District) at 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m.
- Nickelsville (Big Stone Gap District) at 7 p.m.
- First Broad Street (Kingsport District) at 7 p.m.
- First Rogersville (Kingsport District) at 8 p.m.
- Clear Springs-Albright-Liberty Hill (Johnson City District) at 7 p.m.*
- First Gatlinburg (Maryville District) at 6 p.m.
According to a report from the General Board of Church and Society, "The Election Day Communion Campaign 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."
The Rev. Jane Taylor, pastor at First Gatlinburg UMC, said she first learned about the Election Day Communion on Facebook.
"I found the idea of a worship service, a celebration of the sacrament of communion, appealing," she said. "We are divided by so many issues in our churches and the last thing we need is more division over politics. I hope that all of our worship services offer hope, healing, and reconciliation."
First Rogersville UMC placed its Election Day Communion at the conclusion of a 77-hour prayer vigil that began at midnight on Friday evening, Nov. 3. Participants could join in prayer through the church's Facebook page or come to the sanctuary, which stayed open, said the Rev. Jerry Jones.
"We have a diverse congregation in terms of political views," Jones said. "As a nation, we're getting more and more partisan, but we need to be one in the body of Christ. We need to be able to come together and be the church, and this is a real opportunity to be the church."
Jones said that First Rogersville UMC shared its prayerful initiative with sister churches within the Rogersville Parish: Kincaid, Meadowview, Ebbing and Flowing Springs, Edgewood, Dodson Creek, Persia, Otis, and Pleasant Hill.
About 200 United Methodist churches are among the 739 congregations, schools and groups in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., participating in Election Day Communion, according to the GBCS.
*The joint service will be held at Clear Springs UMC in Limestone, Tenn.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.