Churches' delegation to attend the three main political party conferences

Christian leaders will engage with politicians at the three mainparty political conferences over the next few weeks.

Senior representatives from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, theMethodist Church, the United Reformed Church and The Salvation Armywill attend the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative partyconferences to discuss their shared concerns.

The Churches' delegation will emphasise the importance of workingtogether to achieve international agreements which address climatechange, fairer trade arrangements and the regulation of financialmarkets in order to benefit the poorest communities. Nuclearweapons, asylum seekers and migration will also feature on theChristian group's agenda.

Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of GreatBritain, said: "At each party conference we will meet withpoliticians, listening to their concerns and sharing our own.Politicians, whether they work at a national, regional or locallevel, often feel disconnected from the Churches and this is awonderful opportunity to make contact with them and assure them ofour prayerful concern."

As well as building relationships, the representatives will offervisible support for the ministry of Christians involved inpolitics, promote the work of the Churches and strengthenecumenical links through discussions on social issues.

Richard Vautrey, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, said:"We want to offer our support for the ministry of Christiansinvolved in politics as well as to highlight the importance ofChristian engagement with politics."

For several years the Churches have been coming together toorganise a joint delegation to the party conferences, and it hasnow become an established date in the Church leaders'calendar.

The Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the United Reformed ChurchGeneral Assembly, said: "The party conferences are taking place inan election year at a time of widespread disillusionment in thepolitical process in the UK following the MPs' expenses scandal. Welook forward to engaging with politicians at the party conferencesthis year to encourage them to continue pursuing constitutionalrenewal to restore confidence in the political process."

This year the delegation will be supporting the work of Citizensfor Sanctuary; a campaign calling for justice for people seekingsanctuary, following the report of the Independent AsylumCommission last year.

Tim Stone, Public Affairs Officer for The Salvation Army UK andIreland, said: "Especially now, at this time of economic crisis,The Salvation Army is joining with other Christian Churches toremind politicians of the plight of the most vulnerable insociety.

"When budgets are tight, it may be too easy for decision makers toconsider slashing public funding for families and individualswithout being held fully to account. However, there is growingevidence that failing to look after all members of our society willonly store up more problems for tomorrow."