Two UM clergymen are part of the prayer life of both national political conventions happening this month in the U.S. presidential race. And both get to play their key roles on the climactic final night, one at the start, the other at the finish.
In Philadelphia this week, the Rev. William Shillady, director of the New York Conference’s urban ministry agency, the United Methodist City Society, will give the closing prayer on Thursday, July 28, at the Democratic National Convention. The party’s history-making nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, herself a United Methodist, asked Shillady, a family friend since 2002, to do the honors at the Wells Fargo Centeron the last night of the convention. The Democratic National Committee then formally invited him.
Shillady was daughter Chelsea Clinton’s pastor in Manhattan a decade ago and also performed her marriage. He also led the memorial service for Dorothy Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s mother. Clinton discussed the denomination’s mission work and her own faith journey as a United Methodist when she spoke at the City Society’s 175th anniversary celebration in 2013. Read the full UMNS story.
A week earlier the Rev. Steven R. Bailey, a local United Methodist pastor, gave the prayer of invocation on the closing night, Thursday, June 21, of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He told United Methodist News Service that the prayer “is intended for a worldwide audience. It speaks of how all faith traditions recognize God as our creator. It lifts up a request for God to transform us and make us a greater, more courageous people.”
Bailey is Superintendent of the Ohio East Conference’s North Coast District, which includes Cleveland. He previously served New Philadelphia First UMC, south of Cleveland, for 16 years and has been a police chaplain. Ohio East Bishop John Hopkins, who is retiring, initially received the invitation and asked Bailey to offer the prayer instead. Read the full UMNS story.