Choose hope, not fear!

Members and Friends of The Riverside Church,

This year’s election feels a bit like Advent, filled with waiting, watching, and anticipating. As many of us expected, after a night of profound and uncomfortable truths, we await the final results of what has proven to be one of the most important elections in our lifetimes.

History has taught us that the outcomes of many past presidential elections have remained unresolved for days, weeks, and—in one case—months. However, while waiting for results is hard, it is important for our democracy that every vote is counted.

We are incredibly proud of the way our congregation has shown up over the past several months. Many of you have stood out in the cold and rain to ensure that individuals living in underrepresented neighborhoods completed the census and were registered to vote. Some have volunteered to lead civic engagement trainings for immigrants and NYCHA residents to ensure everyone was aware of ways they could participate in the democratic process. Others served as poll monitors and in a variety of other ways to mobilize people on election day. We’ve partnered with JusticeAid, Stacey Abrams, and Representative Hakeem Jeffries to help to raise over $200,000 for Election Protection, defending the right for others to vote. There were even members of Riverside who helped host digital events to turnout Millennial voters in key battleground states and others who physically “deployed” to those states within the past seventy-two hours to ensure every voice was heard and everyone was able to freely exercise their right to vote. Hundreds of telephone calls to battleground states were made by some members to encourage voter turn-out.

In so many ways, Riverside has served as a leading prophetic voice in this moment. Unfortunately, it could be several days before we witness the fruits of our labor. However, in this moment of uncertainty, we must continue to hold fast to what is true.  We must continue to choose hope over fear.  We must not grow weary in well-doing for we know that God’s love will sustain us and in due season, justice will prevail. Do not lose heart—let us keep the faith!

Rev. Michael Livingston, Interim Senior Minister

Rev. Kevin VanHook, Minister for Justice, Advocacy, and Change