26 February 2015
Churches aim to bring truth and justice to politics with latest resources
Four of the UK's major churches have produced a set of election resources designed to better equip Christians to view and interpret the policies and promises put forward by political parties in the run up to May's General Election.
The "Love your neighbour: think, pray, vote" resource pack, produced by the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland, includes short films, with accompanying Bible studies, prayers and postcards, all focusing on four key themes of truth, justice, peace and wellbeing. The pack, which was launched at Saturday's Love your neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote conference, costs just £7.50 (plus postage and packing) and is available to buy here.
Commending the resources, the Revd Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader of the Baptist Union, said: "The aim of this pack is not to put forward any particular political view, but to offer the four lenses of truth, justice, peace and wellbeing which Christians can use to view and interpret the messages and promises we receive from candidates and canvassers. While not exclusively Christian terms, we believe these get to the heart of God's purpose for human society. Our hope and vision is that every member of our churches will enter the polling booth on Election Day, conscious that above everything else, they are called to be followers of Jesus."
"The words 'truth' and 'politics' are rarely used in the same sentence nowadays", added Dr Andrew Bradstock, the United Reformed Church's Secretary for Church and Society: "A recent poll suggests there's been a massive erosion of trust in politicians in recent years, making it more important than ever that people of faith engage in the political process and challenge candidates and parties about their commitment to truth-telling, keeping their promises and holding themselves accountable. We're encouraging voters to ask candidates what their party would do to ensure that there is honesty and integrity within places which exercise power in our country - in the worlds of business, finance, the unions, politics and the media, for example."
The Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said: "Last year's Scottish referendum showed that voters do fully engage with politics when the outcome is important to them and they believe their voice will be heard. We are hoping that this election will similarly engage voters: this election matters - and when we enter the polling booth as Christians, it is an opportunity to live out the gospel bias for the poor and vote in the interests of the common good."
Other election resources, including JPIT's Faith in Politics briefing - on a range of issues from housing to the economy, and from religious freedom to democracy - and the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland guide to holding hustings, are available from the JPIT website.
1. The Joint Public Issues Team combines the expertise of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church in the area of public issues. The Team aims to enable our three Churches to work together in living out the gospel of Christ in the Church and in wider society. It aims to promote equality and justice by influencing those in power and by energising and supporting local congregations.
2. The Love your neighbour: Think, pray, vote election resource pack includes a DVD containing four short films suitable for use in Sunday services; prayers which root the message of each film in worship; ten copies each of four postcards which carry reminders of the themes and four short Bible studies, each containing questions for reflection and discussion on one of the four themes of truth, justice, peace and wellbeing. These could be incorporated into a sermon, used in weekly Bible study or house groups, or as a devotional resource for individuals.