28/04/2017

Getting involved in the General Election

As the country goes into election mode we offer some advice on how Christians and churches can engage with the General Election 2017

Election time is here again
The Uk is back into the grip of election fever and Bishop Paul is one of many church leaders encouraging Christians and churches to get involved. So we've brought together some advice on how you and your church can encourage people to vote, engage well in political debate and make the most of the opportunity to speak of our faith in the public sphere.

Here we offer you advice on

1) Prayer and preaching
2) Encouraging people to use their vote
3) Hosting a hustings event

If you want more support or advice then contact

Revd Canon Dr Ellen Loudon
Director of Social Justice
ellen.loudon@liverpool.anglican.org
Prayer and Preaching
Please pray regularly for the election – the prayer from the Church of England (below) can be prayed at each act of worship or event ahead of the election.

A prayer for the General Election
Lord, we give thanks for the privileges
and responsibilities of living in a democratic society.
Give us wisdom to play our part at election time.
Protect us from the sins of despair and cynicism,
guard us against the idols of flase utopias and strengthen us ot make politics a noble calling that serves the common good of all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen
 

There are many passages in the bible that offer excellent opportunities to speak about the importance of engaging in civic and political life. We are called to be salt and light in our world and as such we bring flavour and brightness into the important things that impact on the way we live together in community. Jesus calls us to consider with great care those who are in particular need.
 
As Christians we have particular concern for the oppressed, marginalised and vulnerable. So, we should be the voice of those who struggle to be heard. Challenging injustice and calling our leaders to account is a mark of the mission of the church. Speaking publicly about the concerns of your parish and the challenges you face in a clear, courageous and loving way in an effective way to demonstrate that as a Christian community you care and are willing to serve.
 
So, please do consider looking at bible passages that address cultural, political or civic issues in your church house-groups and talks. Christians in Politics has a useful breakdown of the political implications of each book in the bible - www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk/politics-in-the-bible/
Encourage people to use their vote
The right to vote is at the heart of our democracy and we want to encourage everyone who has the right to vote to use it!

Under charity law we cannot actively campaign for any single party but we can speak clearly about the need to vote and the significance and purpose of voting in general elections.   
 
  • People can vote in a General Election if they are a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen aged 18 years or older on the Election Day on June 8 this year.
  • Voters also must be resident in the UK or have been registered to vote in a British election within the last 15 years if they are living abroad.

You can register to vote (do this before May 31, 2017) here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you think you might not  be able to vote in person on June 8th then you can register to have a postal or proxy vote – for more information go to the ‘Your Vote Matters’ website here: https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/
Hold a Hustings
We would like to encourage churches to consider hosting a hustings event. because
  • Church hustings are a great opportunity for the local church to reach out and to serve local communities, providing people with the opportunity to put specific questions to all the candidates at the same time, comparing and contrasting their answers.
  • They provide a simple forum in which to raise issues of particular concern to Christians which candidates might not otherwise be asked about.
  • They give people the time to consider candidates as individuals and assess their personal strengths and weaknesses first-hand.
  • They create an opportunity for local churches to begin to build relationships with those who will be elected to represent them.
  • Church hustings send an important message even before any questions have been asked by reminding aspiring politicians that the church is not irrelevant but, as a key part of civil society, is deserving of respect.

Advice on runnning a hustings
The Evangelical Alliance have put together some useful information – which includes links to legal and practical advice – that can help you in preparing your event. 
www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk/uploads/PDFs/show%20up/How-to-organise-election-hustings.pdf

Liverpool Cathedral in partnership with VS6 hosted a hustings event ahead of the Liverpool City Region Mayoral elections in May so if you need any additional advice please do contact Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon (ellen.loudon@liverpool.anglican.org

use your vote well. In particular I ask all followers of the risen Christ to think, speak and vote so as to help the poorest and displaced.

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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.
1Timothy 1.1-2

Politics is a spiritual matter!

The gospel message is relevant to every area of our lives, including our political life. When we bring Godly wisdom to political debate with an attitude of humility and confidence, society is blessed as a result. And when we communicate Christ in the 'public square', the good news is preached in words and action.


www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk

Bishop Paul says

Another election, another chance to examine our values and beliefs as we make our choice. We must not make this choice lightly, nor must we shy away from the debate, or avoid the hard work of examining the policies and approaches we will be offered. 
 
Christians are called to be involved in politics because politics is about people, about the society we want, about the love and justice we want in the world. By thinking, praying and voting we demonstrate our love for our Lord and our love for our neighbour. Here is one way where we can indeed make a bigger difference.
 
So I urge and encourage you to do two things:
 
Firstly, vote and encourage others to vote.. You can only make a difference if you vote. If you need to organise a postal or proxy vote, do it now. If you need to register to vote, do it now. But make sure you vote. It matters. It counts.
 
Secondly, use your vote well. In particular I ask all followers of the risen Christ to think, speak and vote so as to help the poorest and displaced.This year’s election is one that can bring real hope to the UK. For us, that hope comes from the power and life of the risen Jesus. As we pray each day, together with all disciples in our Diocese, so once again we ask the Lord - in our public life, in our care for the weak, in our love for one another, as we vote, may thy Kingdom Come.

#ge2017

Read the Archbishops' pastoral letter here