Was the election a topic in your church this past Sunday? In several churches across the land, preachers decided to dedicate their sermons to the election.
Understandably, many African American took the election of Donald J. Trump hard. Trump’s campaign took on harsh racist undertones, he failed to quickly disavow white supremacist support, he spewed misogyny, encouraged violence—plus, his rhetoric and demeanor sharply contrasted to the Christian conservative morals he claimed to be fighting for.
Needless to say, the majority of black people voted against Trump. And nearly all of African American women—the black church’s powerhouse demographic—voted against him.
Now America is wading through a phase of uncertainty, discomfort and even division as we sort out what a Trump presidency could me to the nation overall.
So what messages are the the black churches sending to a congregation who feels let down by America’s decision to elect the controversial figure? Heal? Unite? Fight?
Billy Michael Honor, pastor of Pulse Church Atlanta, wasted no time with nebulous parable or holy doctrine at Sunday morning’s worship.
“We might as well go ahead and address the elephant in the room,” he said after stepping on stage following praise and worship.
The congregation is slightly subdued. A few rock from side to side as the praise team begins its second selection of the morning.
“Here’s my worship, take joy in it… I wanna put a smile on your face,” the soloist sings.
But the energy changes once Honor hits the stage.
Clapping his hands, Honor referenced the results of the 2016 Election and encouraged those that may be carrying heavy hearts. “But I want you to know that we still have the victory,” he exclaimed. “Put your hands together and give God a hand clap of praise.”
And they do.
y now a couple dozen have entered the sanctuary, some with their young children in tow. Others walk in with coffee cups in their hands. The congregation is a mixed bag of generations – some parents of GenXers, others millennials themselves. Most of those in attendance on this day are female and black. Based in Atlanta’s historic Grant Park, the oldest city park in Atlanta, the church identifies as an affirming, social justice ministry.
As he led the congregation in celebration and worship, he reminded them of the reality of political elections.
“The fact is, in political elections somebody wins and somebody loses,” he pointed out. “But we can celebrate that God is still God and in the fullness of joy there is victory. Is anyone glad to be in the presence of the Lord?”
A few raise their hands. Others shout “Amen” and “Yes!” Others clap in agreement.
Religious leaders from across the country that serve communities of color faced the daunting task of providing divinely inspired guidance for believers grieving the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president.
Earle J. Fisher was one of them. Pastor of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, Fisher said he made a few pastoral remarks during service Sunday morning and then recommendations for moving forward.
I try to make some critical commentary, inform the congregation on what has taken place and then advise them on how to respond,” he told NBCBLK, referencing the shooting deaths of the Charleston Nine and the events at Pulse nightclub in Orlando as examples. “Today I talked about being cognizant of what happened.”
Fisher, believing that those grieving have a right to grieve, said he wanted to give his members permission to be authentic on how they feel.
“Grieving is part of the healing process,” he said. “We have a right to.”
As Trump garnered the majority of the Electoral College votes needed to obtain the presidency, many saw their worst dreams come true. As they have mourned, some have sought solace wherever they can find it – from social media to protests in the streets.
On Sunday, many went to church.
Black churches have historically had two missions, Leonard Curry, a PhD student at Vanderbilt University, told NBCBLK. But he feels as though the church does not appear to be at the helm of this latest iteration of the struggle for black freedom and liberation.
BMWK, what message did your church leadership say in regards to the election?