40 Days of Prayer and Reflection on Our Shared Journey to November 3

Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Caucus invites you to 40 Days of Reflection on Our Journey to the Polls

Few national elections have had similar consequences as the November Election in 2020. Our nation stands in crisis and at a significant crossroad. The Gamaliel Network, an interfaith coalition of persons of faith who stand and act together for justice and equality, pledges to undergird the 40 days leading up to the election with prayer and reflection.

We urge you to use the Common Prayer below every day. On each day, we have asked a faith leader, from different traditions, to offer a reflection on the Common Prayer at this Moment of American Crossroads. We urge you to begin this prayer preparation with a day of fasting on Sept. 24,(or a similar expression of spiritual preparation), and then to engage in prayer at a time of your choosing each day, to prepare yourself, your friends and neighbors, and our nation, for this election.

The Gamaliel Religious Leaders Table has written a “Theological Statement on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism.” a faith statement on “White Nationalism.” The link to this statement is: https://gamaliel.org/our-work/religious-leaders-caucus/gnrlc-a-faithful-response-to-hate-crimes-and-white-nationalism/

Each reflection will include the leader’s personal reflection, questions for contemplation, and a suggested scriptural text from their tradition.

-- The Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Steering Committee

Gamaliel 40 Days of Prayer and Reflection Zoom Launch Event, September 24, 2020

Day 37 – Rev. H. J. Coleman, Jr.

Rev. H. J. Coleman, Jr., Pastor, World Outreach Campus Church, Saginaw, MI; Member, Gamaliel affiliate, The Ezekiel Project   It is appropriate for religious leaders to turn to a tried and true posture in times like these.  Throughout scripture we have seen that in times of great challenge, or in advance of elevation, there is…

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Day 36 – Rev. Cynthia Owen Jarrold

Rev. Cynthia Owen Jarrold, National Policy Director, Gamaliel   The year 586 B.C.E. resulted in a crisis of unbelievable proportions for the people of Israel.  Jerusalem lay in ruins, and the people were carried as captives to Babylon, exiles in a strange land.  The structures that defined the social, religious, and political life of the…

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Day 35 – Rev. David Bigsby

Rev. David Bigsby, Pastor, Upper Room Ministries Missionary Baptist Church, Glenwood, IL; Chair, Gamaliel Council of Presidents; Member, Gamaliel Board of Directors   We face difficult decisions daily.  In the sacred scripture below, we find guidance for our conduct. In the midst of this storm, it becomes crystal clear that our actions must be (just)…

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Day 34 – Sr. Carol Johannes

Sr. Carol Johannes, OP, Pastoral Minister and Spiritual Director; Former Prioress, Adrian Dominican Sisters; Friend of Gamaliel, Ann Arbor, MI Spiritual guides tell us that one of the greatest enemies of the community of believers is fear.  Fear can make us unfree, unhappy and unholy.  Unfortunately, fear is alive and well in today’s world.  It…

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Day 33 – Rev. David Carl Olson

Rev. David Carl Olson, Lead Minister, First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Co-chair, Religious Leaders’ Caucus, Gamaliel affiliate, BRIDGE Maryland, Inc.   There is an America in my head and heart which is only partly true. “Land of the free” may describe some of my country at some time; but heeding too closely to the myth…

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Day 32 – Dr. Stephen D. Jones

Dr. Stephen D. Jones, Co-pastor, First Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO, Member, Gamaliel affiliate, MORE2   One challenge of an interfaith movement is how to state our faith in ways that do not offend others of different traditions.  We certainly need to remain true as to our faith.  Yet, can we speak in ways that…

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Day 31 – Rev. Dr. Ray Pickett

Rev. Dr. Ray Pickett, Rector, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary; President, Gamaliel affiliate, Genesis, Oakland, CA   COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and posed enormous economic, social, and spiritual challenges.  After seven months of sheltering-in-place, what I am longing for is face-to-face connection with other people.  The Greek word for “righteousness” from Jesus’ Beatitude is actually…

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Day 30 – Reirin Gumbel

Reirin Gumbel, Resident Priest of the Milwaukee Zen Center, Member of Gamaliel affiliate, MICAH Peace Statement from a Buddhist Perspective Understanding the true nature of reality, we realize that all beings are interdependent. We cannot afford petty fights for dominance any longer, but have to recognize the dangers that threaten all of us. We must…

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Day 29 – Rev. Charles Baugh

Rev. Charles Baugh, Pastor, Waters AME Church, Baltimore, MD; Co-chair, BRIDGE Religious Leaders’ Caucus; Member, Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Caucus Steering Committee To the One that is all knowing, seeing and ever present. We come in need of a healing of the very souls of our community. Hundreds of years of divisive ideology has caused…

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Day 28 – Janan Najeeb

Janan Najeeb, a founder and president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition and publisher of the Wisconsin Muslim Journal   In the Name of God, The Source of All Mercy, The Dispenser of Grace We pray for healing in our fractured and polarized country and world.  We pray for compassionate and humble hearts, the strength…

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Day 27 – Anahkwet (Guy Reiter)

Anahkwet (Guy Reiter) is the director of Menikanaehkem (“Community Rebuilders”) organization on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin.  Menikanaehkem is dedicated to preserving the Meonominee language, culture and spirituality, and to defending the rights of Nature and all who depend on her for life.   As I look out my window, I reflect on how…

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Day 26 – Ben Ramirez

Ben Ramirez, Leader of Gamaliel affiliate, Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, Minnesota    We stand at a precipice of impending doom and falling back into the dark annals of history. The state of Indiana in 1907 passed the world’s first Eugenics Law followed by 31 other states.  Sixty thousand people were sterilized by force, compulsory and…

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Day 25 – Rev. Tex Sample

Rev. Tex Sample, Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, Kansas City, MO, Robert B. And Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society, Saint Paul School of Theology, and Member of Gamaliel affiliate, MORE2   Gracious God of sovereign love, we give you thanks for the gift of this creation; for the blessings of earth, water,…

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Day 24 – Rev. Dr. Heather Entrekin

Rev. Dr. Heather Entrekin, Retired Pastor and Seminary Professor, Saline, MI   At a national Baptist meeting on racial justice, the speaker asked audience members to share a first memory of racism with someone they did not know.  I am white and 70.  I turned to the African American woman about my age sitting behind…

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Day 23 – Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie

Rev. Cherisna Jean-Marie, Director of Racial Justice Ministries, Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville, TN   I am exhausted.  Scared.  Angry.  Overwhelmed.  Anxious about the future.  I sit in uncertainty about life because I’ve seen death too much in such a short period of time.  This outcry for justice comes from a deep place within.  And it is…

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Day 22 – Imam Christopher Caras

Imam Christopher Caras, Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, PA    America has a history of uniting through hatred and fear. In just a century, we have battled fascism, communism and terrorism, but now we cast the suspicion and hatred against each other. The uneasiness many Americans felt going into election night four years ago has only…

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Day 21 – Associate Elder Dorla Coleman Bonner

Associate Elder Dorla Coleman Bonner, Season of Change Ministries (Elder Corey Lex Cunningham, Pastor), Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, City of Kalamazoo, MI, Member of Gamaliel affiliate, ISAAC    As I reflected on the Common Prayer I was drawn to the phrase – weaver of the warp and weft of history. I love the…

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Day 20 – Rev. David Gerth

Rev. David Gerth, Executive Director of Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), Gamaliel affiliate in St. Louis, MO, Co-Chair of Gamaliel State Directors’ Table   Exodus 17:1-17  Give us water to drink. We are thirsty. We need water. We’re dying here.    In the ash-covered lands of the U.S. West’s deadly fires, the earth itself cries out,…

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Day 19 – Sister Cheryl Liske

Sister Cheryl Liske, OP (Dominican Sisters of Adrian, MI), Coordinator of Gamaliel Training Department, Member of Gamaliel affiliate MOSES, Detroit, MI   In my morning paper I read that a federal appellate court reversed a lower court’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal financial obligations:  a decision that…

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Day 18 – Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin

Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, Former CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, Minneapolis, MN   We give thanks and praise that God makes of us one humankind, turns chaos into creation, slavery into freedom, wilderness into community, exile into covenant, suffering into servanthood, hopelessness into promise.  While we so often tear at those relationships, dishonor…

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Day 17 – Rabbi Simone Schicker

Rabbi Simone Schicker, Temple B’nai Israel, Kalamazoo Michigan, Member Congregation of Gamaliel affiliate ISAAC   We are living during divisive times. Every time we log onto social media, read or watch the news or even drive along our neighborhood streets we see the division. Neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member. We know the…

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Day 16 – Bishop J. Drew Sheard

Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Pastor, Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ, Detroit, MI Prelate, Michigan  North Central Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Churches of God in Christ, Member, General Board, Churches of God in Christ                                                 How many lives must America lose before it makes changes? It is untenable that anyone…

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Day 15 – Mary Gonzales

Mary Gonzales, Retired Associate Director of Gamaliel, Founder of Gamaliel and Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Chicago, IL   This is a time when many of us are depressed about the ugly divisions in our country, the blatant racism, and the oppression of the working class.  It would be easy for us to dip into despair…

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Day 14 – Pardeep Kaleka

Pardeep Kaleka, Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, WI [Pardeep is a leader in the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, where in 2015 seven members, including Pardeep’s father, were killed by a white supremacist gunman.]   This year has been a very difficult year for so many as we have been forced to humble ourselves and think…

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Day 13 – Rev. Charles H. Coleman, Sr.

Rev. Charles H. Coleman, Sr., Ph.D., Pastor, New Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, Saginaw, MI, and Co-chair, Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Caucus   As we are coming to the national election of 2020, I ask that all of us reflect on both our responsibility to vote and the necessity of our participation in…

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Day 12 – Pastor Mary Martha Kannass

Pastor Mary Martha Kannass, Hephatha Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI Hepatha Lutheran Church is a member of Gamaliel affiliate MICAH   Walk with us, Lord Jesus, as we walk into the voting booth, as we walk to the mailbox, as we mark our ballot, as we cast our vote, so that we do not walk away…

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Day 11 – Fr. Frederick Thelen

Fr. Frederick Thelen, Retired Pastor, Cristo Rey Church, Lansing, MI, and former President, Gamaliel affiliate, Action of Greater Lansing   Harvest of Justice Growing up on the farm, we had a huge garden. But along with the good plants, quack grass kept reappearing from its deep roots every time we hoed it out, though fortunately…

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Day 10 – Rev. B. De Neice Welch

Rev. B. De Neice Welch, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Bidwell Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA; Chaplain, Western Psychiatric Hospital; Former Chair, Gamaliel Women’s Leadership Development Program, Ntosake   The Wellspring of Justice The expectation of injustice is so normal that we find it difficult to hope for anything different.  The greatest lesson on justice I have ever…

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Day 9 – Rev. Dennis Jacobsen

Rev. Dennis Jacobsen, member of Gamaliel affiliate MICAH, Milwaukee, WI, and author of Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing    “We’ve come too far, we’ve made too much progress as a people, to stand still or to slip back.  When I was growing up there was a song that people would sing in the church: …

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Day 8 – Sr. Anneliese Sinnott

Sr. Anneliese Sinnott, OP (Dominican Sister of Adrian, MI), Retired Professor of Systematic Theology, Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, MI, and Member of Gamaliel affiliate MOSES   As a country we have experienced many internal struggles. We have disagreed with one another on religion, wealth, land, taxes, and certainly on issues involving human rights. From the…

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Day 7 – Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb

Rev. Dr. Vincent Kolb, Pastor, Sixth Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA, and President, Gamaliel affiliates Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN)   “Then God said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they…

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Day 6 – Dr. Stacy L. Spencer

Dr. Stacy L. Spencer, Senior Pastor, New Direction Christian Church, Memphis, TN, and President, Gamaliel affiliate MICAH-Memphis   Don’t let self-interest cause you to choose the wrong Jesus.   “So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called…

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Day 5 – Rev. Marilyn Miller

Rev. Marilyn Miller, Pastor, Reformation Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI, and President of Gamaliel’s affiliate MICAH-Milwaukee   I Can Breathe with Hope   As I battle my weariness, the word that keeps appearing before me is “hope.”  I can go on fighting the powers and principalities with hope as my mantle.  This hope does not come from…

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Day 4 – Fr. Rudolph (Rudy) Juarez

Fr. Rudolph (Rudy) Juarez, Pastor, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Davenport, IA, and Member of the Gamaliel Board of Directors romanos/Romans 13, 8-10 “No tengan con nadie otra deuda que la del amor mutuo . . . . “  Todos tenemos deuda de una forma u otra: A Dios le debo el don de mi vida,…

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Day 3 – Rev. Susan Engh

Rev. Susan Engh, author of Women’s Work: The Transformational Power of Faith-Based Community Organizing, and former consultant to the Gamaliel National Religious Leaders’ Caucus   Matthew 15:22-28 22[A] Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting [at Jesus], “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But…

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Day 2 – Rabbi David B. Cohen

Rabbi David B. Cohen, Spiritual Leader, Congregation Sinai, Fox Point, WI What’s the most important verse in the Bible? Rabbi Akiva answered: it’s from Leviticus, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Rabbi Ben Azzai countered with a verse from Genesis: “God created the very first humans in the divine image.” (Talmud, Kedoshim 4:2)  From this idea, all…

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Day 1 – Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons

The Daily Reflection on Our Journey Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons, Senior Minister, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Kansas City, MO The impulse to think of ourselves, or our communities, as special—as uniquely chosen, blessed, or superior – may be built into our human evolutionary heritage.  Whenever we seek meaning in our lives, our deaths, and…

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