Election day events on campus focus on unity, peace


Abigail Ham

President Leroy looks on as Professor Eric Washington prays for the nation at Tuesday chapel.

On a day full of tensions and division, campus ministries hosted a special election chapel focused on unity and peace.

The event was attended by about 20 people, including several faculty members and President Le Roy. The service opened with a reading of Psalm 146 and included prayers for the city of Grand Rapids (offered by Rick Treur, Director of Alumni & Community Relations), the state of Michigan (offered by Kelsey Colburn, head of the Contact Tracing Team), the nation (offered by Professor Eric Washington, Director of Calvin’s African & African Diaspora Studies Program), and the world (offered by Jane Bruin, Director of the Center for Intercultural Student Development). 

University Pastor Mary Hulst also led attendees in a communal prayer calling for “eyes free from blindness…that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity,” and for discernment in choosing leaders and guidance in working toward the “kingdom of justice and peace.” Hulst’s part of the prayer also subtly touched on issues that have been at the forefront of this election cycle, asking “for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned…men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.”

The meditation chapel was open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. as a space to offer and receive prayer. Campus Ministries provided informational handouts including a transcript of the election-specific prayer offered by Hulst, an article about praying for presidents and other political candidates–winners and losers–and a guide to engaging constructively and compassionately with political “enemies”, which cited Romans 12:18: “So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

In another gesture of unity, Calvin students manned a bipartisan table near Commons Lawn throughout the afternoon. As a thank-you gift to student voters from both Calvin Democrats and Calvin Republicans, they handed out Left Twix and Right Twix.