By Bishop Ann Svennungsen

What happens after an election — especially one as divisive as this? What is the role of the church? The synod? The congregation?

As in all elections, there are winners and losers. Most of us learned as children about the appropriate responses to such events. After losing the state basketball championship or winning the student council election, we were told, “Don’t gloat, be humble and gracious, show respect for the opponent, and learn from the experience.”

These attributes may be most needed — and most difficult to achieve — after an election like this. The counties included in the Minneapolis Area Synod exemplify the competitiveness of the presidential race:
  • Anoka County voted 50.7% Trump and 41% Clinton
  • Carver County voted 52.7% Trump and 39% Clinton
  • Hennepin County voted 28.5% Trump and 63.8% Clinton
  • Isanti County voted 65.3% Trump and 27.1% Clinton
  • Scott County voted 53.7% Trump and 38.3% Clinton
  • Sherburne County voted 64.8% Trump and 27.7% Clinton
  • Wright County voted 62.6% Trump and 29.4% Clinton
Perhaps, Lutherans in our synod’s counties could play a leadership role in modeling grace and humility and working to rebuild relationships. What if members of 10 congregations in Anoka County met with members of 10 congregations in Hennepin County to reflect on how their Christian faith informed their vote? The Minneapolis Area Synod has a unique opportunity (and perhaps a calling) — as one whose counties were equally divided in the voting — to model and learn from respectful conversations.

Still, even before such conversations might happen, there is much we each can do. Whether it’s an election year or not, we are constantly asking ourselves how to live as faithful disciples. During these days, I invite you to enter deeply into God’s gifts to the church: