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Faith in Action: How We Can Engage in the Next General Election: Esther Ridsdale

As we wait for the announcement of the date of the next General Election, the question arises of how we can best use our influence. People of many political persuasions worship at church. What are the areas in common, where we might work together? Many of Jesus’ actions and words spoke to people in a way that was truly political. He focussed on love for the poor, and criticised greed and selfishness. I would suggest that areas of common concern would at least relate to poverty, justice, and climate change. 

How can we work individually, and with our church Fellowship, and the wider community to identify what issues and stances to prioritize, and work out where the different parties and their current manifestos stand on these? There is also the question of how to use our influence on candidates now, and how to establish a relationship and to hold them to account in addressing key agendas going forward. 

There are tightropes to stepping into conversation on emotive topics and to move in ways that are appropriately sensitive and non partisan. But, as Tony Evans is quoted as having said, "Whenever I hear someone say Christians shouldn't be involved in politics, I can't help but wonder which Bible they've been reading."

Some churches have already started planning how they will do this. For example, drawing on training and advice from Christian Aid, churches together in Chandlers Ford are working to pull together questions on key priority areas to put to each of the parliamentary candidates in a joint session open to the public. They are in the process of inviting local people with expertise locally in different priority areas to lead the discussion on their specialist area. And on how best to engage with all the candidates.

At Ibex we are starting to look for resources that may be helpful to you (in using your influence).  We invite you to share any information and insights that you have that may be helpful to others. Plus any requests for help and requests or offers to work together.

To get the ball rolling here are some links of resources and further signposting from Christian Aid and Churches Together . We will post the questions developed by Chandlers Ford once they are finished in a few weeks time.

  • Churches Together in Britain and Ireland Election Website. The Resources Section (so far) includes Hustings Guidance for Churches and links to material by other organisations (including JPIT)

  • Christian Aid:-

  •  The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT, which for those that don’t know, was set up to keep free churches informed on public issues and produces a regular newsletter that anyone can subscribe to ):- General Election Resources page

Esther Ridsdale, IBEX's new Church in the Community Coordinator is very open to conversation, requests or offers in exploring this or other agendas related to church in the economy.


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