Dear Hyde Park Family,
We are now nineteen days from the general election, and along with encouraging you to practice your civic duty to vote, I offer you some words of wisdom from John Wesley.
In October 1774, John Wesley was preaching in some small English towns near Bristol, where a contentious election for Parliament was underway. The chief candidates were Edmund Burke and Henry Cruger, who differed in their political ideologies, their positions on the American colonies, and their support from religious groups.
In his journal, Wesley called it “[one of the most] exciting elections Bristol has ever had.”
Sound at all familiar?
In the days leading up to the election, while in the town of Pill, he met with members of the local Methodist society, and offered this important guidance:
October 6, 1774. I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them (1) to vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; (2) to speak no evil of the person they voted against; and (3) to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side. 
That is such good advice. Vote for who you think is most worthy. Don’t speak evil of the other candidate. Show no animosity to those who voted differently.
246 years later, John Wesley’s advice is as helpful now as it was then. Regardless of how ugly and mean-spirited this or any election season becomes, we can model the kind of decency and civility that we expect of those who lead us.
Our own Florida Bishop Ken Carter also has wise words for us to consider, in his recent email to United Methodists in this Conference:
“We see each other as neighbors and not as political enemies. We are increasingly aware of the polarizing intent of social media platforms for economic gain, inciting fear, anxiety and violence. We are also aware of the danger of misinformation … We are disciples of one Lord, Jesus Christ and citizens of one nation, the United States of America.”
You can read the entirety of his excellent statement here.
THIS SUNDAY: “I AM”
We continue our journey through John’s gospel this Sunday by exploring one of its most unique features: the “I am” statements of Jesus. We’ll discover the many ways John describes the power and impact of Jesus in our lives, especially as the “vine” that connects us to each other.
See you Sunday, and don’t forget to vote!
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
Learn more about the Bristol Parliamentary election of 1774 here.