Just last week Centerville UMC became a very special place. No, this didn’t happen during worship, or even at a prayer vigil. It came when the church became a local polling place. During this past year the Montgomery County Board of Elections came to ask if our church could be a site in this year’s elections. I responded with a vivacious “Yes!”
The day before the election took place I walked into Heritage Hall (the room where the elections were taking place) and looked around the room. I was reminded of something, that there has been a Methodist church on this corner in Centerville, Ohio since 1833. I can only imagine that when they built the church they had one goal in mind: to be an anchor for the community.
It was a great reminder for me that the reason there are community churches is because the church is designed to be an anchor in the community. It isn’t a place that is supposed to be separate from the community, but rather a place where the community can seek shelter. It is a place where different viewpoints can come together and speak their piece.
The church was never meant to be a divisive building. No, the church was meant to be an anchor, an anchor that keeps the community tied to something strong so that no matter what the situation, or how difficult the season, the community going through it simply needs to look to that local steeple and know that there is hope.
The day before one of the more turbulent primaries in recent memory, I stood in the oldest room of the church and I prayed. I prayed for the people entering the room, I prayed for the people on the ballot, and, more than anything, I prayed that our church would always be a place that the community could look to for stability.
This week signifies one of the few seasons of the year where the world will collectively pause and look back at those steeples in communities around the globe. This is our time to show the world that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something that everyone can look to for hope and stability. No matter what happens in our community, no matter what happens in the election, no matter what happens in the world: Jesus Christ is our anchor.