Volume 79: Leading in Politically Divisive Times


Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.  – Psalm 146:1-4

For learning about wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight, for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young—let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill…          – Proverbs 1:2-5

Our country is experiencing significant divisiveness right now that is spilling over into personal lives, churches, and communities.  There is increasing chaos that is made more difficult through distanced relationships. An election is a month away and it fills the news daily. This edition of e-LEAD is intended to provide resources to enable leaders to navigate through the rough waters, bridge the divide, and find HOPE.  Leaders are encouraged to seek one another out for comfort, empathy, and understanding.  We need each other now more than ever.

"When we move from the politics of 'Me' to the politics of 'Us,' we rediscover those life-transforming, counterintuitive truths: that a nation is strong when it cares for the weak, that it becomes rich when it cares for the poor, that it becomes invulnerable when it cares about the vulnerable. If we care for the future of democracy, we must recover than sense of shared morality that binds us to one another in a bond of mutual compassion and care. There is no liberty without morality, no freedom without responsibility, no viable 'I' without the sustaining 'We'." – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Morality: Restoring The Common Good in Divided Times

Social Drama: Poetics and Politics 

Maria Fee, artist, theologian, and educator
Whether it was a film, a book, a song, or a play, most of us have experienced transcendence through a work of art. Sometimes that transcendence allows us to more deeply understand ourselves, but other times art can be a door into profound empathy for another person’s experience. “The arts help individuals to move beyond the self to accept what is other,” notes Maria Fee in FULLER magazine’s “Politics” issue. Now more than ever, we need art as an essential part of our toolbox as we seek to bridge the divides between us. Maria Fee, artist, theologian, and director of Brehm Cascadia, shows how the arts can act as a mediator for difficult conversations and can “prompt entrance into another world.”... MORE!

Politics: The Art of Living Life Together.

Hood Theological Seminary Academic Dean, Trevor Eppehimer, is facilitating a Hood Seminary online educational engagement course called “Politics: The Art of Living Life Together.” It’s not too late to engage this 6 week experience.

Key discussion includes:

  • How should we live together in society?
  • Why do we need government? What is its purpose?
  • What is justice? How is it established?

Discussion Text: Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press), Author: David Miller, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford

Flexible schedule. Learn more!

Congregational Resource Guide

The Congregational Resource Guide offers a variety of resources for churches and leaders to be equipped for meaningful conversations. Highlights include:

  • Preaching and teaching strategies for clergy
  • The Witness of the Church
  • Training to bridge divides within the congregation
  • Navigating Polarizing Politics


Being the Church in Divisive Political Times

A blog by Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor emeritus, Ginghamsburg UM Church. MORE!


Courageous Conversations

Whether church-wide or interpersonal, we all find ourselves having to have difficult conversations. Discipleship Ministries offers a free 4-sessions series designed to help local churches structure dialogues to move beyond impasses or hold conversations we’d rather avoid by discovering how to listen well and learn from others. Each session has a video segment, along with suggestions for “action steps” and questions for reflection and response... MORE!

Better Conversations

In this 11 minute TED Talk, Celeste Headlee offers 10 ways to have a better conversation.  She focuses on the need to listen.  We have lost the art of balancing talking and listening.  Not only is this a helpful reminder for leaders, but it could be a conversation starter for a small group or your evangelism team.  Celeste Headlee goes beyond the typical advice we learn about listening.  Watch here!

More Resources For Holy Conversations

Finding Hope in a Divided Country:

Election Edition

Faith + Lead of Luther Seminary is offering an online course, “Finding Hope in a Divided Country.” It is designed to help persons have productive conversations in the midst of polarization without sacrificing the Gospel’s clear call to mercy and justice. Led by Rev. Angela Denker, this once a week course will meet for an hour each Wednesday in October. On-demand access will be made available for anyone unable to join live...MORE!

Americans feel more divided from their fellow Americans than they have in decades. And nowhere is this more painful than in our churches, where we are called to put aside our differences and come together as Christian family. This series seeks to give hope and transformation for our weary spirits... MORE!

Lombard Mennonite Peace Center

Later this fall, the Leadership Development Team will offer scholarships to participate in offerings of Lombard Mennonite Peace Center which enable leaders to address conflict, learn more about how family systems influence congregations (and what to do with that information), and to address leadership and anxiety in the church. The information will be posted at


Connecting Technology and Relationships (September 2020)

Resilience (August 2020)

Agility: The Ability to Move Quickly and Easily (July 2020)

Racial Justice, Equity, and Action (June 2020)

Sabbath, Spiritual Connection, and Renewal during Stay-at-Home (May 2020)

LEADERSHIP in Crisis an Vulnerability (April 2020)

Preaching (March 2020)

Racial Awareness - Reflecting God's Kingdom (February 2020)

Understand and lead in the context in which they serve (January 2020)

The Best of E-LEAD for 2019 (December 2019)

Best of 2018 (December 2018)

Best of 2017 (December 2017)

Western North Carolina Conference
PO Box 2757
Huntersville, NC 28070
Phone: 704.535.2260