Churches and other places of worship are accustomed to expect that during an election year some candidates for public office will make visits. Religion is important to many in this country and so it is understandable that public servants want to participate in the lives of their constituents. Scripture teaches us the importance of welcoming all (Leviticus 19:34). In the rule of St. Benedict it is written: Let all guests that come be received like Christ. Over the years I have observed that some candidates and elected public servants are confused about their role as a guest in church. Therefore it seems prudent to offer the following guidance for those who come to be with us in worship. First, it is important to remember that all guests who come are equally important in the house of God. We do not introduce those who are visitors because we do not wish to make them feel like a spectacle. Therefore please understand that neither will we introduce a candidate or public servant should they happen to visit one Sunday. Secondly, it is important for all – guests and members alike – that when we enter public worship we release our own agendas so that we may better listen to God’s directive. While worship includes fellowship, worship is not a time to greet constituents or otherwise unduly draw attention to one’s self. It is time to focus on God. Thirdly, the body of Christ in a local congregation is diverse – racially, economically and politically. We believe such diversity deepens our community and demonstrates a hopeful model for the nation. We ask that no one impede or in any way diminish diversity through politically exclusive speech while participating in church functions. Therefore to ask for votes or financial support is not only inappropriate, it is an affront to the mission and purpose of our church. Finally, all are welcome at First Baptist Church. When one enters the House of God one does not come as a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or any other political name. One comes as a child, beautifully created in God’s image. We are grateful to all who feel called to serve the public locally as well as nationally. We continue to pray for our public servants that God may direct their lives and their actions to accomplish God’s higher purpose. When you visit us remember that you are welcome here alongside all other sinners seeking to be saints. Thank you for respecting our worship through seeking not your agenda, but God’s.