As the campaigns for the General Election on 8 June get under way, Bishop Nick has written to all clergy in the diocese. He asks them to consider hosting hustings in their churches, as well to encourage all in the diocese to pray for the election, to engage in debates – and to vote.
The letter reads:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Prime Minister’s decision to call a General Election on 8 June took most people by surprise. I am sure that you will already be thinking and praying about our role in the election and the way we, as Christian leaders, can play our part. May I suggest that the following are important at this stage, and these can be widely communicated in our parishes and deaneries:
- Encourage everyone to pray for the election, both individually and corporately during public worship over the coming weeks. There are some excellent resources from CTBI, prepared for the 2015 election,but still largely relevant. They are available here:
- Please keep an eye on www.leeds.anglican.org in case there is more from the church nationally as politicians’ campaigns get underway. There is a page dedicated to the General Election here.
- You may wish to revisit the House of Bishops’ letter which we issued before the 2015 election, called Who is my Neighbour. It contains a great deal of relevant and useful material.
- Exhort everyone to engage in the debates and cast their vote. It is especially important that we encourage the young to register and to vote. A useful resource is Bite the Ballot.
- For Area Deans, Lay Chairs, clergy and Readers it will be important to consult quickly with our ecumenical partners and to build on our previous practice of hosting hustings. We are still considered an honest broker by most people and can offer our churches and halls for these meetings. You will recall that legislation surrounding charities and hustings is very strict and we have made available essential advice from The Churches Legislation Advisory Service. They have issued an update to their advice from 2014 here with the earlier advice also available here.
With best wishes and my prayers.
Bishop of Leeds