Pray for our politicians

A delegation of Church leaders and representatives from theBaptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the ReligiousSociety of Friends, The Salvation Army and the United ReformedChurch will attend the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservativeparty conferences in September and October.

The Free Church delegation urges Christians to pray for allpoliticians during the party conference season as they debate thechallenging financial and social problems being experienced both inthe UK and abroad. The delegation will be hosting prayer breakfastswith other Christian groups at all three conferences, which localChristians in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester are encouragedto attend.

At the Conservative party conference, Jonathan Edwards, GeneralSecretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, will speak at aprayer breakfast entitled 'Prayers for Our Nation'. "There areendless illustrations of our own society's deep need right now. AsChristians, we should be praying for our country and world andsupporting politicians of all parties as they seek to findsolutions to these problems."

Lieut-Colonel Marion Drew, The Salvation Army's Secretary forCommunications, said: "There is a real danger that the aftermath ofthis time of economic turmoil will accelerate the growinginequality between rich and poor. Pray for our politicians as theydiscuss current and future policies at their conferences, that theywill have a full understanding of difficulties facing many peopleand that they will strive to create a fairer, more inclusivesociety for the good of everyone."

During their visits to the party conferences, the delegation willhave opportunities to meet with politicians and raise a variety oftopics like poverty and inequality, the Big Society andwellbeing.

The Revd Leo Osborn, President of the Methodist Conference, said:"This is a tough time for many people. Our churches are part ofcommunities where people are struggling to make ends meet andfacing insecurity and poverty. We welcome these opportunities todiscuss with politicians the challenges that face us as a nation,and to demonstrate that Christians believe that caring for oursociety is part of what it means to be an active disciple ofJesus."

The delegation will also be raising issues that appear to havefallen off the news agenda, like the renewal of the Trident nuclearweapons system and climate change.

Frank Kantor, Secretary for Church and Society for the UnitedReformed Church says, "It is easy to think that climate change canbe put to one side whilst we try to deal with the more immediateconcerns of economic uncertainty and responding to the publicdisorder from last month's riots. However, climate change continuesto pose one of the biggest threats to humanity in general and tovulnerable communities in poor countries in particular. Wetherefore have a moral obligation as churches to ensure thatclimate justice remains a priority on the political agenda and welook forward to discussing with politicians their plans to ensurethis important issue continues to be addressed."

Michael Hutchinson, Assistant Recording Clerk for the ReligiousSociety of Friends (Quakers) said: "Our Parliamentary LiaisonSecretary, Michael Bartlet, will be joining this ecumenicaldelegation because we want to encourage and challenge those who areseeking to improve our society through political life, and worktogether for the common good."