As a former pastor, and as a current Hubbard County Republican, I couldn’t disagree more with the recent “Don’t politicize in church settings” letter writer.

In my two decades of pastoring, I saw churches host garage sales, Tupperware parties, birthday parties, bake sales, PTA meetings, Boy and Girl Scout meetings and many more. Why would Churches host these? Because God calls churches to serve their communities and to meet practical needs in their society.

At the recent town hall in question, I can assure you that no Abide pastor or staff member was present, espousing our political policies or platforms.

And I’m quite certain that Abide Church is not using the Republican Party platform as their preaching text on Sunday mornings. All the church is doing, very generously so, is simply allowing local elected politicians and local concerned citizens, to use their physical space as a place to communicate and discuss current community and societal issues.

The Bible very clearly calls churches to serve their community and to love their neighbor. One way they do that is by allowing different entities and organizations to occasionally use their space. This is not a signal that a church agrees with every single detail of each entity using its building space. It is a signal that the church cares more about serving its community and its neighbors than it does about being staunch, proud and empty.

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Sen. Paul Utke, who continues to represent his constituents extremely well in St. Paul, was not wrong in any way, to participate in a town hall meeting to communicate with local citizens and voters. He was, in fact, doing the job he was elected to perform. The good senator did not arrange or choose the location of this event, but simply accepted an invitation to communicate with his constituents and hear their concerns, as any good politician should.