'A Higher Allegiance': Thousands Of American Christians To Celebrate Post-Election Communion
Thousands of Christians across the US will end election day with a communion service in an effort to overcome political divides.
Election Day Communion was set up during the 2012 campaign with more than 900 churches registered. The idea continued this year with the mainly Protestant churches taking part ranging from Mennonite, Anabaptist, Methodist, Episcopal and Disciples of Christ congregations.
"After we've made our different choices in the voting booth, let's make the same choice together," said the campaign's Facebook page. "Let's meet at the same table to break bread and pass the cup.
"Election Day Communion is a chance to remind ourselves that our allegiance to Christ is higher than allegiance to any party or political campaign.
"That the power to truly change the world is found not in politics or presidents or protests, but in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus."
The idea began with several Mennonite pastors who shared "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".
Jason Boone, the Mennonite lay leader heading the 2016 campaign, said: "It's one individual, one vote. We go into the booth alone and we have all this power.
"Then you go to Communion or you're with the body (of believers). And you say, 'You know what? My power is going to be in serving all of these people.'"
But after the success of the 2012 movement, this year the number of churches registered has fallen to just more than 300. Boone told RNS that one explanation was ministers had taken the idea on but did not feel the need to register officially with the campaign.
Washington National Cathedral is one prominent church not registered with Election Day Communion but will offer voters three services on November 8.
Boone also warned the dip could be because this campaign has raised the stakes to such an extent, many no longer believe it possible to share communion with those who voted differently.
He said he admired those with strong political views but warned they were the ones who could benefit most from the services.
"There's a perspective and a grounding that can only happen through the church," he said.