A Worship Resource for Election Season
Many factors drive or determine health – how safe you feel in your community, access to parks, healthy food, high quality early learning and education, and availability of health care providers and good paying jobs. These social factors will impact how healthy your community is and how healthy you are.
Now more than ever, health is a life-or-death issue and decisions about your health are being made by elected officials. In some cases, these are officials who have been elected at the local level by a very small portion of the population.
At the Health Fund, we are passionate about improving the health and wholeness of Kansans. Our work focuses on access to care, early childhood development and improving community and congregational health through the Healthy Congregations program. To achieve these goals we’ve funded programs, worked on policy and systems change and regularly convene partners, policymakers and community members.
We’re increasingly learning that the more civically engaged a community is, the healthier the community. Unfortunately, Kansans are not voting in local elections at healthy levels. According to the Civic Health Index of 2016, authored by the Kansas Health Foundation and the National Conference on Citizenship, Kansas ranks just 41st in the country in adults who report they vote in local elections. The report highlights: “Even more concerning is that certain population groups in Kansas exhibit even lower levels of political involvement, including Kansans with lower levels of income, education, and those from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds.”
With the understanding that civic participation is tied to community health and that Kansans are not politically active – especially at the local level – we see an opportunity to improve community health by improving civic engagement. That’s why we are excited to share this sermon guide and toolkit to help support civic engagement and support Faith in Democracy, an initiative dedicated to ensuring that every Kansan is able to be an informed, enthusiastic, engaged voter.
Tending the Civic Soil was written by the Neighboring Movement team with the preacher and worship planner in mind. We have designed this tool as a one-stop shop for all the worship components you may have in your congregation. Each week includes ideas and suggestions to fill your bulletin, including songs, prayers, children’s sermon, exegesis, sermon ideas, and creative responses to the sermon.
We’d love to hear from you! Did you use the sermon guide and/or toolkit? Would you be willing to share your feedback and experiences? Would you consider recording a brief video to share? Questions or suggestions? Please send us an email at email@example.com.
Resources in this sermon guide
- Editable bulletin insert
- The Voter Network
- Civic Health Index of 2016
- Editable PowerPoint presentation
- Week 1 sermon video
- “Plants Talk to Each Other Using an Internet of Fungus”
- The Neighbor Next Door podcast, “Joy Lenz: Transformative Neighboring”
- Sojourners, “4 Guidelines to Voting While Christian”
- History.com, “Dust Bowl”
- Natural Resources Conservation Service, New York, “Cover Crops – Keeping Soil in Place While Providing Other Benefits”
Tending the Civic Soil Social Media Tiles
Below are social media tiles to help you promote the series. We would love to know if you use the guide—please tag us on Twitter or Facebook (@umhealthfund).